Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, affects nearly 6 million people in the United States. Alzheimer’s usually progresses slowly and can even take years for early signs of memory loss to progress from the middle to late stages. Many family members choose to care for their loved ones at home. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 11 million family members care for someone with dementia. However, most family members aren’t equipped to provide care for someone with advanced dementia and choose to look for other options as the disease progresses. During the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s, memory care can become necessary to keep individuals with the disease safe, healthy, and engaged.
According to AARP, “memory care is designed to provide a safe, structured environment with set routines to lower stress for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.” Memory care communities provide meals and help with personal care tasks, and are specially trained to provide care for those with memory issues, other cognitive impairments, and the behaviors that accompany Alzheimer’s disease. Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are more at risk of wandering than those without it. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 in 10 individuals diagnosed with the disease will wander at least once. Memory care communities are equipped with alarmed doors, secured elevators, and enclosed outdoor spaces to allow residents to enjoy gardens and fresh air while also keeping them safe.
According to U.S. News, there are different options for memory care, and whether your loved one can live alone depends upon how the disease is progressing. Assisted living facilities that typically offer assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation, sometimes have dedicated memory care neighborhoods within the senior living community. Often these neighborhoods will have dedicated staff members trained in working with people who need additional care and specialized activities.
A dedicated memory care community is another option that provides comprehensive care in a secured environment. These communities are secured, ensuring residents won’t wander and get lost. In addition, memory care communities are usually designed with visual cues and artwork that ease anxiety and reduce frustration. As in assisted living communities, memory care communities offer meal preparation, medication management, personal care and enriching activities.
Skilled care nursing facilities are great options for individuals who need more care after an illness, injury, or hospitalization than they would receive while staying at home. Nursing communities offer round-the-clock care, including meals and medication management. This level of care can be long- or short-term and is only appropriate for individuals with complex medical needs that surpass the care provided in assisted living or memory care communities.
While it can be difficult to move your loved one to a memory care community, there are common signs your parent has dementia that may require 24-hour specialized support from a team of caregivers:
Finding the right memory care community can feel overwhelming, especially if your search is urgent. As you tour different communities, consider asking these questions to help guide your decision-making process:
Our memory care communities at Maplewood Senior Living offer stimulating environments designed to keep your loved one safe and engaged, while receiving high-quality medical care. Here, comfort and consistency are key. We assign a team to the same group of residents to foster belonging and stability. These familiar connections allow our staff to quickly recognize any changes that might be taking place and provide the necessary support. Along with a flexible daily schedule full of stimulating programs, exercise, music, and worship services, your loved one can be as active or engaged as they like, free to live with joy in each moment. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.
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