When a parent or loved one gets on in age, the concern of who is going to help them and how becomes an ever-present worry. Perhaps the loved one in question is self-reliant and doesn’t require an ever-present caretaker to assist them. Maybe you were able to take on the responsibility of helping them out.
What do you do though, if you loved one has Alzheimer’s or Dementia? Is assisted living enough? Read on if you’d like to know how you can get the proper help needed for someone that you care for that’s living with either Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
What is Alzheimer’s?
One thing that we would like to specify here is that Alzheimer’s and Dementia are not the same things. Alzheimer’s can be a cause of dementia and despite the fact that the elderly are the majority of people who make up sufferers of Alzheimer’s, approximately 200,000 people under 65 are afflicted with the illness. This is what’s known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means it’s likely going to get worse over time. At first, when it is in its early stages, the memory loss is mild, but once it reaches transitions into late-stage Alzheimer’s people actually lose the ability to interact with their surroundings and even carry on a conversation with others.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s currently, but there are treatments and ongoing research into what can be done to help sufferers of this disease.
What is Dementia?
Unlike Alzheimer’s, which is a disease, Dementia is a syndrome. This means that it is a combination of symptoms that don’t have a specific cause. Dementia is a combination of symptoms that affect cognitive functions such as reasoning and memory.
A good way to think help distinguish the difference between the two is that Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia, but Dementia is not the same exact thing as Alzheimer’s is a specific form of cognitive degradation.
There are actually many different forms of Dementia, with the most common being mixed Dementia. What that means is that a person has town different forms of Dementia. This illness can become worse as time goes on and may affect a person’s ability to function without assistance.
Why Do People Place Their Loved Ones into Assisted Living?
We’ve already gone over how assisted living is an option for those who are unable to provide the proper level of assistance or care that their elderly family members might need at home. Assisted care is the step that you would take when your parent or loved one may need some extra help but don’t really need to be in a nursing facility which where help is provided 24/7.
Other reasons why someone may want to put a loved one into assisted living is because these places offer safe environments for their occupants. It takes money to modify a home for it to properly accommodate an elderly person. Assisted living communities are already designed with the needs of senior living in mind.
Assisted living also offers other seniors a chance to be around their peers. Loneliness and social isolation are issues that many of the elderly have to contend with and can result in health issues. While in assisted living, they can take part in structured activities like field trips and social events which in turn can help them to lead a happier and more fulfilled life.
So, as you can probably tell now, assisted living can really go a long way towards improving the quality of life for the elderly. But what you want to know is if it can help someone that is suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Well, to answer your question…
There Is Another, More Specific Alternative
Not exactly. This isn’t to say that assisted care isn’t a good choice for those who need help, but for people who have Dementia or Alzheimer’s; they’re going to need more specialized care. Keep in mind, they have issues with memory and cognitive function. It’s less a matter of needing help getting dressed and more a matter of remembering TO get dressed properly. This is where memory care comes in.
Memory Care: What Is It?
Memory Care is a specialized kind of care that’s geared toward those that have any degree of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. There is a structured environment set up that has routines and schedules to make life stress-free, safe, and overall health for seniors.
Memory care facilities have programs designed to enrich cognitive skills and is equipped with staff members that are attentive as well as able to provide expert care. For example, activities at a memory care facility would be able to engage residents with tasks that encourage brain fitness and memory. They would also provide the residents with food specialized menus, both this and the events that they would arrange for their seniors are specially designed to help combat the effects of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
While patents that stay at memory care facilities may require more stringent monitoring to ensure that they are safe and to provide be able to readily provide them with aid, it is done in a way that ensures that they are still given their freedom and independence. For a more in-depth look into memory care, you can visit www.pegasusseniorliving.com today
Signs That Your Loved One Needs Memory Care
The first sign that you need to have your parent put into memory care is when their overall health starts to decline. Once memory loss starts to set in, they may start to forget things like how to drive, cooking, or even eating.
Physical signs that you should be on the lookout for are:
- Rapid weight loss
- Lack of food in the fridge or cabinets
- Neglected personal hygiene
- Proof that they haven’t been taking their medication (or that they’ve taken too much)
- Hunched over posture
Another sign that you need to seek out at least the advice of a memory care expert is when you or the caretaker in question begins to experience burn out. Once caregiving has become all-consuming or there have been enough of the above incidents, it’s time for you to hand the reigns over to someone that’s specially trained to handle caring for your elderly family member.
How to Approach Visiting Your Loved One in Memory Care?
Believe it or not, but the topic of visiting your loved one after they’ve been enrolled in memory care needs to be broached with the utmost care. It’s fair to assume that there are many families that want to pile into the room and show that their loved one is loved.
In reality, it’s better to take a “2 at a time” approach. Having too many of you surrounding them at once can be overwhelming. Do NOT ask questions along the lines of “Do you remember me?” as it can frustrate and upset your loved one.
Probably the most important thing to remember is that your loved one will fall under two categories: more is more or less is more. The former means that regular visits will be greatly appreciated and can help them to settle into their new home.
The latter means that regular visits may result in feelings of homesickness and make it harder for them to adjust to living away from you an the rest of the family. One other thing to remember is that you also deserve time to get used to life after your loved one moves into memory care. The best thing to do is to consult the staff and your loved one to know the best approach to visits.
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