As we get older, our bodies show the signs of age, our skin wrinkles, arthritis sets in, eyesight declines. The mind ages as well and we have trouble remembering where we left the keys, our glasses and important dates. Unfortunately, the mind can also age in a fashion that changes a loved one’s personality and important memories that make them who they are.
Severe types of heartbreaking memory loss conditions cannot be checked with new reading glasses or skin creams. Families must to find ways to deal with a loved ones condition and finding a community that can help with the distinct challenges of long-term memory care for them may be the best thing for all.
Fortunately, the days of just maintaining a quiet, serene environment are fading. Progressive memory care focuses on personalizing an individual’s daily experience in ways that help them connect cognitively. There are major challenges for care professionals and families when treating those suffering dementia or other memory-related diseases.
When people talk about dementia, they aren’t referring to a specific disease. Dementia is a general term that refers to a range of symptoms associated with declining mental functions. They can inhibit the ability to carry out routine daily activities and cause general memory loss. Types of dementia include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome among others. In severe cases, sufferers may lose the ability to care for themselves entirely.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common condition affecting memory loss. It inhibits various cognitive abilities and accounts for as much as 80 percent of memory loss conditions. Although age increases the risk of Alzheimer’s, it is not an aging disease per se. While the vast majority of Alzheimer sufferers are over 65 years old, up to five percent of people with it are in their 40s and 50s and the condition progressively worsens over time.
During the early stages, simple forgetfulness occurs. But Alzheimer’s can progress to the point where a loved one can lose the ability to converse or manage their environment. It is also the sixth leading cause of death in the nation. Currently, there is no cure and long-term memory care is often needed.
What is Memory Care?
Basic assisted living is fine for helping people with the usual frailties of age, but it does not go far enough to help manage the affects of declining cognitive functions. There are facilities that are specifically designed to work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. These communities provide care in a specific wing, floor or resident community.
In terms of memory care, caregivers can create a plan designed to reconnect the individual with activities such as hobbies that foster memory retention. Memory care services tend to go beyond just meals and housekeeping in a facility. They include thing such as:
- Private or semi-private rooms
- Medication oversight
- Personalized exercise and physical therapy
- Specific socialization programs
- Memory-connecting activities
- Round the clock personalized assistance
Memory care facilities also focus on a person’s self-esteem by stressing things that they can do, rather than pointing out their limitations. Caregivers work to boost the individual’s quality of life by using verbal cues and familiar routines to help people feel grounded. For example, while a group of residents may be all making cookies, caregivers can guide each person to use their particular level of ability successfully and help them feel fulfilled and included in the process.
Discussing the different aspects of the activity on a one-on-one level also helps foster a cognitive connection. Memory care takes into account someone’s personality, interests needs and preferences at the various stages of their condition. We are all very different individuals and by accentuating each person’s strengths and uniqueness, memory care focuses on providing the best quality of life for each person.