Memory care is a specific type of long-term care provided to people with dementia that struggle with memory loss. Many conditions fall under the generic term ‘dementia’. Alzheimer’s Disease is probably the best-known form of dementia.
An assessment of retirement homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and memory care centers showed that the latter is outpacing other senior living options, having increased 200% between 2010 and 2020. Dementia is on the increase, with the increasing lifespan of the elderly due to better medical care than in the past. The condition is incurable.
If you have an elderly parent who has dementia, you have probably started to consider at what point your loved one can no longer function independently in his/her home. Perhaps you have brought the person to live with you but are not sure you can provide the right care for dementia. We provide a guide to memory care to help you to decide if it is best for your loved one.
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Dementia Patient Housing
Assisted living facilities cater to the elderly who are still somewhat independent and have their full mental faculties but need some assistance with the activities of daily living (ADL). Many of these centers provide memory care to seniors whose mental health deteriorates as a result of dementia.
This treatment occurs in a different location from assisted living, where residents are free to come and go, as it provides secure lock-up to prevent memory care patients from wandering off by themselves and getting lost. This could be on the same premises, e.g., a different floor or building, while some facilities only take in dementia patients for memory care.
Memory Care versus Assisted Living
Dementia sufferers can become agitated when stressed. They need a calm routine and staff keep them to a structure by, for example, getting them to the dining area in time for each meal. They are helped to the sites where planned activities take place and are checked on throughout the day and night.
Staff will remind a resident with dementia when to brush their hair and teeth, etc. Assisted living residents must take care of their own routines. Both may receive help with ADL.
As 60% of dementia patients wander, much stricter security measures are used in their living areas. Some memory care homes will fit these residents with tracking devices to make the constant surveillance less intrusive. Codes or cards are used on elevators and alarms on all external doors.
Apart from these basic forms of assistance, memory care uses specific activities to stimulate cognitive function and keep dementia patients engaged and functioning to their best.
Finding the Right Memory Care Facility
Standards vary between centers, although they all claim to offer memory care. Many facilities are still trying to recover from the covid pandemic and are understaffed. Others, such as https://www.parcprovence.com/areas-served-memory-care-st-louis/creve-coeur-memory-care-alzheimers-dementia/ have designed unique in-house programs.
For example, accommodation functions around the concept of individual households for sufferers at different stages of dementia. This provides more flexibility in routines and feels like home.
Before deciding on a particular center, you should make a few visits at different times of the day. Ask permission to observe memory care activities. Ask yourself if your loved one will fit in and if this is the right decision for your parent.