What Services to Expect in a Memory Care Community
If your loved one is struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they may require additional services that a regular assisted living community cannot provide. Many senior living communities have special sections, sometimes called “villages,” reserved for residents who need specialized “memory care.”
What services should you expect when a loved one moves into a memory care community within an assisted living facility?
Memory care villages will often have locked gates that permit residents to enjoy a sense of freedom and independence on the facility’s grounds, but permit them from leaving the community, where they could get lost or injured.
Additionally, security staff will be trained to gently re-direct Alzheimer’s and dementia patients if they begin wandering from planned activities or straying too far from their daily schedule.
Additional Monitoring and Safety Practices
Some Memory Care communities have trained staff or Certified Nurses who can actually dispense medication, rather than offering medication reminders. These individuals also monitor the behavior and activities of residents, and can report dramatic changes in personality, behavior or health to primary care physicians or get emergency medical attention for a resident if needed.
Rooms are designed so that residents can stay safe while living alone and getting the personal care services they need.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients requires compassion and special training. Dignity, freedom and independence are important to all Assisted Living residents, but caring for residents with Alzheimer’s represents unique challenges; there is the constant threat that a resident may hurt him- or herself, become agitated for no apparent reason, or even forget where they are.
Staff is trained to manage individuals with Alzheimer’s better than unpaid caregivers and family members can do at home.
Activities Tailored to Preserving Cognitive Function
The brain is a muscle, and studies show that one way to reduce Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms is to give individuals an opportunity to exercise that muscle by using their mind. Memory care facilities provide an activities program that is tailored to helping individuals slow the progression of the disease and remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. This includes sensory stimulation, cognitive therapies, and physical and occupational therapies.
Many of these are performed in group settings, giving residents the socialization they need, as well. Of course, regular exercise, which has also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, is included in Memory Care activity programs.
Music and art therapy is often used frequently, sometimes in conjunction with other therapy programs, as it’s been shown to reduce aggression and agitation in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Great efforts are taken to keep memory care patients on a regular routine, since this type of stability, knowing what to expect each day, diminishes agitation in those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living Memory Care
Unlike an Assisted Living community, a nursing home offers 24/7 services and can manage patients who are unable to care for themselves at all. If you or a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s can still perform many Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), albeit with a little help, assisted living provides greater independence than a nursing home.
Individuals with Alzheimer’s may thrive in an Assisted Living community tailor made for memory care, even better than they might at home. The additional services and therapies available can slow the progression of the disease and offer the right balance of independence, safety and security that seniors with Alzheimer’s need.
SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (866) 342-4297 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.