The silver tsunami is ashore!
Yes, our population is aging. We know, you’ve heard that before, but the importance can’t be overstated.
Now we need to be sure that we have safe places to care for the seniors who need care. While many are making plans and turning their dreams into reality to remain in their homes as they age, there are many won’t be unable to do so.
Health and safety are usually the reasons our seniors move from home to a care facility.
There are options for those that need care above what they can get in their own homes – including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement centers and day care centers – which can provide different levels of care. Some seniors however, need specialized care in places that cater to the cognitive needs of seniors with dementia.
We as family caregivers try to meet the particular needs of our senior loved ones. Doing so means that the well-being and safety of our senior loved ones should be guiding our decisions about where they live. It is not your fault and no one will blame you for wanting what is best for your senior.
Memory Care Centers
Many of us are familiar with the nursing home care that has been around for some time. More nursing homes are becoming sites for rehabilitation or skilled nursing care following a condition such as surgery, debility or stroke recovery. Beds that were once taken by long term care residents are now split for use by those receiving therapy to return back home.
There is also a new growing need with the ever increasing numbers of seniors who have cognitive impairment known as dementia to create different situations tailored for them. It is estimated that 5.4 million seniors have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Memory care centers are becoming more popular for family caregivers whose senior loved ones cannot safely remain at home and whose constant need for attention and supervision can no longer be met by the family members. Fear of wandering, fear of falling and even fear of burning the house down are all too real for many.
What Memory Care Units Provide
Nursing homes are generally not equipped to deal with the special needs of seniors with severe memory loss or dementia. When not stimulated or supervised properly, these seniors are at risk for premature death.
A good memory care program housed in an assisted living or long term care facility will include:
- Tailored activities for those with dementia who often have short attention spans and decreased sequencing abilities to complete a task once begun.
- Appropriate staffing patterns to keep seniors occupied and reduce resident on resident abuse when behavior is not controlled and redirected.
- Give 24 hour care, adequately supervising all residents – even those that aimlessly wander – to prevent elopement, fall and injury. Include increased security measures that keep seniors with memory impairment safe.
- Treat seniors without the use of chemical or physical restraints or over-medicating with antipsychotic drugs.
- Specially trained staff that is able to treat seniors with dignity and respect and redirect them back to safety when needed.
- Provide programs such as cognitive therapy, sensory stimulation, and in-house therapy when needed. Also, trained staff who can give art and music therapy to reduce aggression and agitation.
- Give daily care for activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, transferring, walking, and eating, as well as other medical care.
Memory care units can provide the specialized care that your senior needs when staying at home is no longer the right option for them. You should investigate any facility that you are considering to be sure it will provide the particular services you desire for your senior.
Each person with dementia is different and should be treated as an individual. No single course of treatment or care is right for every senior with memory loss. An individual plan tailored to your senior is the goal for all family members who want the best for their senior loved ones.