Life expectancy is on the rise thanks to evolving modern medicine and increased health awareness. While increased life expectancy is a beautiful thing, it doesn’t come without complications. An increase in our aging population offers a unique set of challenges, particularly for those affected by memory disorders.
These challenges have created a greater need for memory care. Memory care is a specialized form of long-term skilled care designed to meet the specific needs of those individuals battling Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and many other memory problems.
But what is memory care and how does it work? How do you know when someone you love truly needs memory care?
In this article, we’ll explore memory care as a service and how it can help enhance the quality of life for many loved ones.
Understanding Memory Disorders
The term memory disorder represents a wide range of conditions which impact a person’s ability to remember things. This dramatically affects there abilities to learn new things, focus, or make critical life decisions. When you understand the impact memory disorders have on a loved on, it is easier to understand why memory care services are so vital.
When a memory disorder goes unchecked, or is underserved by people without specific credentials or tailored, relevant experience, the person is at risk for unintended self-harm.
Memory disorders stem from numerous factors including age, diseases, neurological conditions, and brain traumas. How a memory disorder affects a person is typically unique to them. There’s no exact blueprint, however, medical science has a good grasp on these diseases.
Here’s a list of common memory disorders, we’ve linked a couple to the CDC for your deeper exploration needs:
- Alzheimer’s Disease: This is the most common type of dementia, and it involves problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, interfering with daily tasks.
- Dementia: This is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Dementia is not a specific disease but rather a term that covers a wide range of medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other Memory-Related Illnesses: Other conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and certain types of brain injuries can also cause memory problems.
The Impact of Memory Disorders on Individuals and Families
Memory disorders not only affect the person with the disorder, but also friends and family members who surround the person; particularly those attempting to help the person navigate life. Memory disorders often take an emotional toll on everyone involved. If you’re reading this article from the position of currently dealing with a loved one suffering memory loss, then you know well what we’re conveying.
Memory disorders often lead the person to experience feelings of frustration, confusion, sadness, and anger. The angry outburst offer a unique, frustrating challenge to family members and caregivers. This is why its important to have a deep understanding of how memory disorders affect people, otherwise, its easy to become emotionally and physically drained.
Understanding these disorders is not just about recognizing the symptoms. It’s about understanding the profound effect they can have on individuals and their loved ones, emphasizing the need for specialized care tailored to their unique needs.
What Is Memory Care?
Memory care is a healthcare service that’s vital to our society. This form of specialized care caters to elderly people challenged with memory problems. Memory issues are on a spectrum and as such, so are the memory care services offered.
Memory care serves to create a safe environment for all. Moreover, memory care programs are designed to help slow the progression of neurological diseases which in turn, improves life through symptom management.
Memory care offers an arsenal of services that support those afflicted. Typically, this means 24-hour supervision and care in a standalone facility, or sometimes, as a part of a larger residential care facility such as an assisted living community.
Under memory care services, residents receive compassionate care from staff members trained in memory disorders. This is unlike regular assisted living that caters to elder care. Memory care is designed with specific services for people experiencing memory impairments and their loved ones. The staff in memory care facilities are specially trained to handle the challenges that often come with memory loss, including behavioral changes. For loved ones, behavioral changes, such as angry outburst, can feel overwhelming, frustrating, and defeating.
Memory care residences create a structure of daily routines that offer activities designed ti stimulate memory, provide consistency and stability, and exposure to art and music.
In essence, memory care is not just about providing a safe space for individuals with memory disorders, but also about delivering an environment that helps them maintain their abilities, stimulates their memories, manages their behaviors, and enhances their quality of life.
Who Needs Memory Care?
When it comes to assisted living situations of any type, deciding when the time has arrived is the most stressful part of the process. Specific to memory care, there are signs to observe.
- Increasing Memory Loss: While it’s normal to forget things occasionally, frequent forgetfulness, especially of recent events and conversations, could be a sign of a memory disorder.
- Difficulty Performing Routine Tasks: Struggling with everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, or even dressing, could indicate the need for more supportive care.
- Changes in Behavior: Unexplained mood swings, increased agitation, confusion, or withdrawal from social activities may signal a decline in cognitive health.
- Safety Concerns: If a person is forgetting to turn off appliances, getting lost frequently, or having accidents at home, it may be time to consider memory care for their safety.
If any or all of these signs feel recognizable in your current relationship with an elder, it’s advisable to seek medical advice to further understand if the symptoms are related to a memory disorder. The decision to move an elderly loved on into a memory care facility is emotional; you want to make sure you have it right. Discuss your observations with appropriate healthcare providers.
Science Supporting Memory Care
When it comes to memory care services, the science supports the initiatives. A 2022 study showed that hospital admissions for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia was lower for those in memory care programs versus those only in assisted living facilities.
“Memory care is associated with reduced rates of nursing-home placement, particularly long-term stays, compared to general assisted living,” the study explains.
Services and Support Provided in Memory Care
Memory care facilities, such as our Canton, Ohio memory care residence, offer a comprehensive range of services geared towards supporting the needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Memory care facilities like ours are designed to provide comprehensive support and encourage social interactions.
- Assistance with Daily Activities: This involves helping residents with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, and taking medication. The goal is to help individuals maintain their independence as much as possible while ensuring their safety and comfort.
- Medical Management: This can include monitoring of health conditions, administration of medication, coordination with healthcare providers, and managing any other specific health needs that a resident may have.
- Occupational Therapy: Therapists work with residents to help them maintain their existing abilities and learn new ways to perform tasks. This might include strategies to help with dressing, eating, and other daily activities.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapists work with residents to help them maintain their strength and mobility. This can involve balance exercises, strength training, and other exercises tailored to the individual’s needs and abilities.
- Speech Therapy: For individuals struggling with communication, speech therapists can provide strategies and exercises to help improve their ability to express themselves and understand others.
Moreover, there’s a high-level of attention and energy dedicated towards critical safety measures for not only our residence, but visiting guests.
In conclusion, memory care facilities offer those challenged by memory disorders not only a safe haven, but an environment to thrive. They also help loved ones better cope and manage these situations which commonly afflict their loved ones towards the twilights of their lives. Its important to find peace and serenity during the twilight years.