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Dementia Does Not Mean That All Hope is Lost

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When a loved one is struggling with dementia, it may feel like an uphill battle and that all hope is lost. Fortunately, however, your loved one can thrive and still enjoy life with proper memory care. With life-enhancing services, trained memory care specialists, purpose-driven activities, and a comfortable living space your loved one will feel at home while receiving the proper care that they need.

As the caregiver or family member of a person dealing with the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other forms of cognitive decline, watching the mental deterioration of your loved one can be heartbreaking and leave you feeling devastated. If the time has come to consider memory care options, it’s important to educate yourself about what memory care is and the best way to choose the right facility for your loved one.

What is memory care?

Memory care is a specialized form of medical care and treatment for senior adults who suffer from memory loss and mental deterioration as a result of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other types of cognitive impairment issues. Staff members in a memory care facility receive specialized training in this specific area of geriatric care and focus on keeping seniors who are struggling with memory loss comfortable, engaged, and safe.

Services and Activities

Services and activities that focus on the mental and physical stimulation of seniors with dementia are a vital part of memory care. You should keep in mind that every person has a different level of capability and treatment plans for the individual should reflect this.

The activities listed below help promote mental stimulation and reduce stress for your loved one.
– Social gatherings and group walks for interaction and engagement
– Exercises, like chair yoga, that work to improve muscle strength and balance
– Music therapy to boost the mood and stabilize emotions
– Sensory stimulation with arts and crafts activities
– Mental health services for depression and anxiety
– Art therapy to promote self-expression
– Games that encourage fine motor skills like backgammon, checkers or bingo

Questions that need to be asked when choosing a memory care facility

When it’s time to make the decision to move your loved one to a memory care facility, it is of utmost importance that you tour the facility in person and ask important questions of the staff and administration.
Questions that need to be asked include:

– Are medical professionals on staff 24/7?
– What memory care training & education is the staff required to receive?
– What on-site medical services are available and how often?
– What are the offered daily activities and who supervises them?
– How secure is the facility and what security measures are in place?
– What do meal plans involve and what, if any, is the extra cost?
– What is the staff-to-resident ratio during the day and at night?
– How is a patient who becomes disoriented or combative handled?
– How often do you provide health and well-being updates?
– Are residents grouped based on their cognitive levels?
– What is your pricing structure and what does it cover?
– Are background checks conducted for each employee?

Red flags – be aware

There are certain obvious signs you should be on the lookout for when touring a facility. If you notice that several of these are occurring, the facility may not be the right, or safe, choice for your loved one. These red-flag signs include:

– Residents who are not properly dressed or well-groomed
– Staff members are not attentive to or actively engaging with residents
– Residents appear to be unhappy
– The facility is not clean, well lit, or easy to navigate
– The staff is not willing to answer your questions or does not seem to have an interest in your concerns
– Television is being used excessively to keep residents occupied or entertained
– Admissions policy and facility pricing are not made clear to you in a way that is easy to understand
– Insufficient or non-existent safety protocols in place including smoke alarms, window locks, handrails, non-slip flooring, and exit signs
– The facility has received multiple complaints or violations
– Staff does not appear to be friendly or compassionate with the residents

Memory Care vs. Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing and memory care communities both offer facilities that provide around-the-clock assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs) that include medication management, housekeeping, hygiene, personal care, etc. The major difference between them is that skilled nursing focuses mainly on medical care and rehabilitation, whereas memory care is a secure form of long-term skilled nursing that specifically caters to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive impairment issues.

Memory Care vs. Assisted Living

The level of care required by an individual is what differentiates an assisted living facility from one that specializes in memory care. Assisted living communities are designed for senior adults who are mostly independent, but may need assistance with certain daily activities and needs. These residents do not require around-the-clock medical care.

Seniors who reside in a memory care unit or facility, on the other hand, need medical care and supervision 24/7. The main focus of a memory care facility is to address memory-related challenges such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive impairment issues.

Conclusion

Caregivers and family members can experience extreme emotional stress when a decision has to be made to move their loved one into a memory care facility. Remember that you are not alone, and to slow down and take the necessary time to investigate and ask questions related to the facility you are considering.

Prodigy Transitional Rehab is located in Edgecombe County and specializes in skilled nursing and transitional rehabilitation, offering a warm and safe environment for those placed in our care. Prodigy is a leader in patient care and clinical excellence in five areas of service: Short-Term Rehabilitation, Out-Patient Rehabilitation, Long-Term Care, Memory Care, and Respite Care. Contact us today to learn more.