Alzheimer's patients have special needs when compared to many other seniors. While Alzheimer's sufferers are not physically impaired at first, confusion, the tendency to wander, and mood swings make these patients a challenge for loved ones to manage at home. When the disease becomes too much for family members to cope with, sometimes the best option is placement in a memory care facility.
Q: In what ways are memory care facilities different from standard assisted living facilities?
A: Memory care facilities are a special subset of assisted living facilities; and, many of them only accept patients needing Alzheimers care. Memory care facilities are specifically designed to provide a calming environment for patients with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Dementia patients often need extra attention in order to be kept safe in their environment. To accommodate this need and keep the staff-to-resident ratio high, many memory care facilities have a smaller population of people than standard assisted living facilities.
In addition, many memory care facilities have fewer amenities than assisted living facilities. This is by design, because Alzheimer's patients find reduced stimulation to be comforting and stabilizing. Assisted living facilities will provide patients with amenities like a pool or will stimulate residents with large bingo tournaments, whereas memory care facilities focus on providing beautiful, quiet grounds that are safe for wanderers and structured activities that are designed to combat the effects of dementia.
Q: What kind of activities do memory care facilities provide for their patients?
A: Activities in memory care facilities focus on enriching the lives of patients by teaching them self-care and encouraging them to participate in activities they've enjoyed in the past. Gardening, painting, stretching, reminiscing, and cognitive games are all the kind of activities you might find at a memory care facility.
Q: At what stage do Alzheimer's patients benefit from memory care facilities?
A: Many Alzheimer's patients come to memory care facilities when their illness has progressed enough that they can no longer remain at home safely without a nurse or family member. If your loved one cannot do basic life activities (e.g. cooking, dressing, bathing, driving, etc.) without great difficulty, you may want to consider a memory care facility. Often patients come to memory care facilities displaying significant memory loss.
Q: How do memory care facilities keep their patients safe?
A: Alzheimer's patients are inclined to wander, and that can be dangerous. Memory care facilities provide a secure, fenced-in location where patients can act on their desire to wander without becoming lost in a strange environment. And not only are the patient-to-staff ratios more even, but these kinds of facilities have 24-hour staffing and emergency pendants for seniors.
For more information about Alzheimer's care, contact a memory care facility near you.
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