Memory care communities serve beautiful purposes for families who are struggling with degenerative brain diseases and memory issues. When a loved one needs more care than a family can provide, finding a compassionate memory care community is imperative. But it can also be a bit confusing.
Today, we’ll discuss the importance of specialized care as it pertains to memory care communities.
The need for compassionate memory care has never been higher. For one, we’re living a lot longer. In 2020, 1 in 6 people were age 65 or more. Compare that to 1 in 20 in 1920. That’s a steep, dramatic rise that precipitates a great need for services which help the elderly thrive.
Along with an increasingly older population comes rising cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In 2020, the CDC estimated near 6 million Americans were inflicted with Alzheimer’s.
All of this illustrates a dire need for more expansive, compassionate memory care that helps the elderly and their families cope and thrive.
Understanding Memory Care Communities
Memory care communities offer numerous elderly care options that center around dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, and beyond. There are tailored activities and therapies as well as safety and security measures in place.
If you’re new to researching memory care and assisted living communities, please refer to our How To Choose the Right Memory Care Community for your Loved One guide. Otherwise, we’ll move into the specialized care aspect.
Why Specialized Care is Crucial
Specialized memory care might also be called, tailored memory care. If we consider memory care as a whole, there’s numerous aspects of a memory care community experience which should be regarded as “expected.” These are the normal processes, care, activities, and security. Of course, the level of quality will differ from community to community.
Specialized care refers to the “above and beyond” care approach that customizes the care to more exactly fit the patient and family’s needs.
A tailored approach is an indispensable benefit to memory care.
Specialized Memory Care Needs
Here’s a list of areas where specialized needs are needed in memory care communities. This list should help you closely examine your personal situation and compare it to the memory care community’s atmosphere and tailored approach.
Behavioral Needs: Many individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s can exhibit challenging behaviors, such as agitation, aggression, or apathy. Often, tailored care utilizes non-pharmacological interventions to help reduce the behavior.
The use of consistent, personalized routines help create a sense of stability.
The resident’s history, preferences, and personality help craft the personalized care for behavioral needs.
Psychological Needs: Emotional well-being is paramount.
The memory care community should tailor care for the emotional needs of the resident. The use of therapeutic communication is of the utmost importance. Offering personalized counseling and support for both the resident and the resident’s family is imperative.
Physiological Needs: Health issues often accompany memory disorders.
The memory care community staff should ensure timely administration of medications based on personalized needs. And they should aptly monitor changing health statuses. These means collaboration with healthcare professionals.
Preventing Wandering: One of the significant risks with dementia is wandering.
Established, proven security protocols are highly important, this means coded doors, wearable alarms, and even racking devices. The memory care community’s space should be ripe with clear visual cues and walking paths to help prevent wandering.
Avoiding Injuries: Due to confusion or decreased spatial awareness, injuries can be common.
The deployment of fall prevention strategies are an important aspect of a memory care facility, particularly given that head injuries from traumatic falls heavily affect the elderly. In 2017, adults 65 or older accounted for almost 40% of all traumatic brain injury deaths.
Benefits of Specialized Training for Caregivers
For a memory care community to offer top-tier specialized care, their caregivers must have specific memory care training. This is especially true for Aspen Woods of Vernon Hills, a memory care community located in the northwest suburb of Chicago, covering locations such as Mundelein, Libertyville, Bannockburn, Lake Forest, and Lake Bluff.
When memory care staff members better understand the challenges associated with a disease’s progressions, they can better treat it in a compassionate manner. They can also convey the progression better to family members who equally struggle with these challenges.
Caregivers with a wider range of skills can help handle various challenging behaviors and situations. They can offer emotional support and empathy.
Therapies and Activities in Memory Care Communities
Tailored interventions and activities are essential for specialized memory care.
There are a number of aspects at play:
- Cognitive therapies: brain games, puzzles, art, and music therapies
- Physical activities: walking, dancing, and light exercises
- Social interactions: group sessions, family visits, communal meals
For families of loved ones dealing with memory disorders, choosing the right memory care community can be stressful. Having a better understanding of what specialized memory care your loved one needs can dramatically help you better choose a compassionate destination.
Assess the care your loved one needs with their unique challenges in mind. Visit potential memory care communities and check for certifications, ask questions, and watch how the staff interacts with residents. Consider getting feedback from current residents and reading online reviews. Tailor your questions around what your loved one needs in specialized care.