It is diagnosed in about 10 million people worldwide per year.
It progressively robs people of their mental and physical functioning, as well as having a direct impact on their family.
While it’s a serious condition, there is caregiver help available. There are also specialized facilities that are equipped to properly care for seniors with cognitive decline, and they’re not the same as some other care facilities.
Let’s concentrate on 6 benefits of memory care facilities and how they can help your loved one (and you) improve their quality of life.
What is Dementia?
Dementia itself is not a specific condition. Rather, the word is used to describe a variety of conditions that affect one’s memory, which is much more common in seniors but can happen to younger patients too.
Along with trouble remembering things, symptoms of those with dementia also include trouble communicating as well as having difficulty completing routine tasks. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that progressively gets worse, and is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
Once dementia takes hold, it may be difficult for a person to live on their own safely. This is when friends and family can try to step in, but as everyone has their own busy lives, a professional care facility is often the answer.
When a person can no longer live independently, there are choices to be made about their living arrangements. They could be placed in an assisted living facility, which provides meals and housekeeping as well as medical care when required. If dementia is a concern, however, you should look for an assisted living facility with a memory care component.
1. Properly Trained Staff
One of the most important differences is that the staff at a memory care facility is specially trained to help those with dementia. As well as being familiar with how to best tend to seniors who are experiencing a cognitive decline due to dementia, the staff at memory care homes often have additional training in other areas such as feeding tubes and oxygen supplementation.
Not only do staff in this type of facility have more training, but their expertise in dementia care brings a level of compassion and understanding to the job which is a big plus when dealing with patients who are easily confused. The staff strives to understand each patient so they can better engage them as well as provide the most suitable approach to caregiving.
2.High Staff to Patient Ratios
People with dementia have a tendency to wander. This can be due to being in an unfamiliar building, or due to their efforts to seek familiar people or other things from their past. Or they may just feel the need to be outdoors to enjoy the weather.
Because of this, many memory care facilities ensure there’s a higher ratio of trained staff for the number of patients. Caregivers often work in teams to accommodate small groups of patients, allowing them to meet all of their needs while being able to easily transfer a patient if necessary.
3.Specially Designed Facilities
Homes for those living with dementia are designed with their comfort and safety in mind. For example, the buildings can be designed to help prevent wandering behavior while still being easy to navigate.
Many memory care providers have smaller homes rather than a large “institutional” facility with many people sharing the same spaces. This smaller space can often help the individual from becoming overwhelmed.
That’s not to say a dementia patient will not have access to everything they need. Some dementia facilities have common areas that allow patients to watch their favorite shows together. There may also be a common kitchen that allows freedom to grab a snack or even to help staff prepare a meal.
Other features you might find unique to memory care homes include using different paint colors to highlight places that may be commonly used by a patient, for example, a bathroom. There’s also secured access.
One of the key benefits of memory care living is the number of social activities offered to keep patients engaged. These activities can take place inside the facility in the form of listening to music or even flipping through a photo album to trigger fond memories.
However, activities may also take patients outside. This could be for bird-watching, going out for a bite to eat, or on field trips for shopping. It could just be for getting out for a walk.
Studies have shown that engaging dementia patients in social activities can decrease their feelings of loneliness. It can also lower feelings of depression, control behavioral changes and even help the patient prevent disrupted sleep.
5.Memory Care is More Highly Regulated
In addition to the licensure and registration requirements for assisted care living facilities, memory care units have additional regulatory oversight to ensure high quality care and support for people with dementia.
6.End Of Life and Respite Care
While dementia itself is not always directly responsible for a death, there are often complications that come along with it including pneumonia and blood clots (if they become bedridden) that can be fatal.
Some memory care facilities offer palliative (end of life) care to patients on-site to help them have the best quality of life in their final days or weeks.
Meanwhile, some of the facilities offer respite care. This allows families who are caring for a loved one send them for temporary stays at a care facility, giving them time to take care of other responsibilities or allowing for vacations.
Memory Care Facilities May Be The Answer
Not all assisted living facilities are made the same. If you have a loved one that is struggling with any form of dementia, it’s worth checking out all the benefits of memory care facilities to determine which will provide the best care.
To find out more about our facility and the benefits, contact us today.