How Memory Care for Alzheimer’s Differs from Assisted Living
According to the Alzheimer’s Association “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, but there are many kinds.”
Worldwide almost 50 million people have dementia, and about three quarters of those cases are caused by or contributed to by Alzheimer’s.
Forgetfulness is not a necessary evil of growing older. Dementia, or Alzheimer’s specifically, is a devastating condition that robs the affected of their memories. When Alzheimer’s advances to a point where loss of memory starts to interfere with daily life, it becomes not just difficult to care for at home, it can be downright dangerous to try to provide care at home.
Some assisted living facilities may be adequate for caring for earlier stages of Alzheimer’s especially when the person suffering with dementia may not have many medical problems at this stage. However, this is when people with Alzheimer’s will start to need more comprehensive support for basic activities of daily living (IADLs), including daily activities that add to our quality of life and are necessary for basic health and wellness.
In assisted living, residents live in a private or shared apartment, and have staff available to assist them 24-hours per day, although they do not provide 24 hour a day monitoring or medical care. This is ideal for residents experiencing the early stages of dementia because it provides safety and care while still allowing as much independence as possible and within reason. In these situations, help with ADLs, transportation to and from doctors appointments, prepared meals and arranged social activities enhance the resident’s life greatly, and serve to bridge the gap between in-home health care and residential memory care.
When symptoms of dementia become too severe for assisted living communities to handle effectively, it is time to look into more specialized care, such as memory care. Memory care is often provided by assisted living facilities, but is not the same as assisted living.
Memory Care for Alzheimer’s services are not 24 hour care or a formal hospital. However, what memory care facilities like those at Baxter Senior Living can provide is intermittent nursing services, housing, food service, redirection and reminders. They have a friendly home like environment that is safe and comfortable for the residents and does not feel like a medical environment. The care professionals are experienced and understand the unique challenges faced by memory care residents and their families. Baxter even has special memory care apartments. There are options of a private studio, a semi-private studio (which has a private room and shared common areas) and a one bedroom apartment.
Some other things that are different between assisted living and memory care are that scheduled checks by staff occur more often in Memory Care. Some facilities use tracking bracelets that have GPS and notify staff if a resident starts to wander too far. Memory care units follow a strict schedule because residents with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia respond well to routine and structure. There are also increased safety standards in Memory Care, such as locking up common items that are dangerous or poisonous such as chemicals and sharp tools.
The importance of finding a home and program that really suit your needs and the needs of your loved one can’t be overstated. Every facility is different in what they offer and how they handle memory care. Find a place where your relative or loved one feels comfortable and secure.
You should tour the facility and meet the staff, talk to other residents and families if possible. Make sure you understand and agree with all of the policies and procedures of the institution.
Respite Care Accommodations
Respite care is a family support service that provides a temporary stay for dementia patients in memory care to give their home health care givers a bit of a much needed break. This also provides a kind of vacation for the ailing senior. Often, once a condition like this sets in, a senior will no longer be able to get out and be social on their own. Sometimes they even feel like they are being “babysat.” For these seniors, respite care is a great opportunity to socialize and enjoy life.
At Baxter Senior Living in Anchorage, Alaska, respite care allows you to have all of the same living options, services and amenities provided to the long term residents, but for a shorter, more limited stay.
Respite care can help you make a decision about long term care by also allowing you to “try out” the facility of your choice. Your senior loved one will go and stay for a shorter period of time. This won’t be something you have to commit to forever, but if they are comfortable, then you know you have found the right place! This is also a wildly effective tool for helping seniors to be more comfortable and get over anxiety related to moving to an assisted living, memory care or high acuity residence.
Here is a brief look at services offered by memory services at Baxter. You will receive all of the care services and amenities that you would receive in assisted living, plus:
- Assistance with ambulation, eating and dressing.
- Bathing and toileting.
- Laundry and housekeeping.
- Medication management.
- Transfer between bed, chair, wheelchair and toilet.
- All care services included except incontinence care.
- Daily wellness checks
- Health check-ups provided by the health director.
- Management of diabetes.
- Assistance with many other chronic conditions not requiring assistive machines (picc line, ventilator respirator, etc.).
- Scheduled transportation to local appointments and doctor visits.
- Special outings, enrichment activities and social events.
There are a limited number of pre-furnished respite care apartments available in memory care.
If you are currently looking for in-home care in Anchorage or an assisted living facility for a family member or loved one who has dementia, come and check out Baxter Senior Living, where we provide a safe and home like environment and make your family a part of the Baxter family!