Memory care is very different than an assisted living or a nursing home. Many assisted living communities have memory care units on premises, but the two are not synonymous. Considering care for your elderly loved one to assist with daily tasks, health-related issues, or basic companionship is very different than considering care for your loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Sometimes, it can be hard to determine exactly what your loved one needs. In this post, will address the differences in assisted living and memory care, and some of the signs you should look for to determine if your loved one needs memory care rather than assisted living.
What Makes Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Different
Memory Care is often different than assisted living because there is more of a focus on safety and security as those with Alzheimer’s tend to wander off more frequently. They should not be cooking or be doing anything that could put them at risk for injuring themselves. Often times in memory care units, there is not a kitchen in the patient’s room. Additionally, memory care focuses on managing stress and creating a relaxing environment for the patient as those with Alzheimer’s tend to be easily stressed and confused. Often times a routine is crucial to patients, so there is a focus around sticking to a daily schedule. Caregivers must also watch out for things like lack of appetite and be able to come up with solutions to make sure your loved one is getting the proper nutrition. As the disease progresses, help with bathing, dressing, and toileting may also be necessary.
Caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia must be knowledgeable about the progression of the disease, including possible causes and effects. They should be properly trained and aware of the disruptive behaviors patients can exhibit and how to handle and respond to them. Communication techniques are very important when it comes to patients and caregivers must be trained in how to reduce stress and agitation through non-pharmaceutical techniques.
Additionally, memory Care often includes certain daily activities that stimulate the brain and memories, and possibly help slow the progression of the disease. These could include music, arts and crafts, games, and other activities.
When is it time to switch to Memory Care?
As we age, simple lapses in memory are normal. With Alzheimer’s and Dementia though, it becomes more than a simple change in memory. Patients experience difficulty learning, communicating, reasoning, thinking, and it becomes severe enough to impact their daily life. As we mentioned before, these individuals require a different level of care than those without Alzheimer’s or Dementia. If you notice your loved one becoming more and more confused or agitated, neglecting their self-care, and becoming more forgetful than normal, this could be a sign it’s time to discuss memory care options. It’s important to catch it early so that your loved one can receive proper care as soon as possible. Do your research ahead of time and look for assisted living or in-home care services that offer both assisted living, companionship, or part-time help as well as Alzheimer’s and Dementia care so that you don’t have to continually move your senior from one place to another, if you do have to transition them to memory care. At Extended Family, we can offer anywhere from part-time assistance and respite care, to 24-hour, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care. We can help you determine when it’s time to consider additional help and aid you in that transition process as it can be a difficult time for not only your loved one but for you as well.