Memory loss issues can impair the quality of life for the afflicted and their caregivers. The CDC estimates that 5.8 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease and associated dementias, including 200,000 aged under 65 and 5.6 million over 65. Approximately 1.7 million have vascular dementia, while others struggle with memory loss concerns related to brain tumors, blood disorders, Parkinson's disease, and other health conditions.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care is specialized treatment for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Some families create conducive environments for their older adults to improve their quality of life. Others enroll their loved ones in assisted living and nursing homes to ensure they receive specialized memory care.
The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care provides that memory care is a fast-growing field in the senior housing market, with unit numbers doubling in the last decade. The non-profit actively assesses trends in the industry. The occupancy rates plunged during the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged many long-term care homes.
Memory loss progresses at different rates for every individual suffering from any infirmity associated with old age. Some people will plateau and continue living independently with little to no additional support – medication reminders and assistance with household duties and meal preparation.
Caregivers should pay close attention to the needs of the person experiencing memory loss issues, especially because some of these people do not wish to surrender total control of their lives. Some want to make independent decisions.
Research indicates that a familiar environment enhances mental engagement and decreases confusion among people with mild dementia, Alzheimer's, and other forms of memory loss. Being surrounded by memory cues and familiar objects can foster a sense of peace and connection.
The severity of some conditions among older adults and the impact on a person's memory determines the need for further lifestyle changes. These may include extra help from a professional caregiver or family member, helping the afflicted remain independent.
How can Life Care at Home Help?
At Lifecare at Home, a registered nurse assesses the specific care needs and oversees the roles of other certified homecare providers and nurse assistants trained in senior dementia care. Our home care providers and professionals are trained in Alzheimer's care, and we update their training annually according to state regulations.
A coordinated care plan between professional caregivers and family members is critical to bringing structure to a person's daily life. This may include a set of routines and rhythms that align with the person's needs and interests.
A person struggles to learn new things and maintain focus as dementia advances. Indulging them in a routine through multiple activities has advantages, including:
Nurtures a sense of productivity
Memory care aims to provide a structured, safe environment with routines that lower stress levels for people with dementia or Alzheimer's. Our Life Care at Home professionals also has additional training to deal with unique issues.
The first step in indulging your loved one in a senior living setting could start with a search at the Alzheimer's Association's Community Resource finder and the AARP. These are online directories for senior care services.
Once you narrow down your options, experts recommend visiting the specific memory care residences severally, including when staffing is thinner and an unannounced visit. Here are factors to consider when navigating your search:
Availability of sustained care
Food and activities
Physical environment and overall layout
Higher level supervision and care may attract hefty bills. According to 2021 NIC statistics, the average cost of memory care in the United States is $6,935 per month. This figure is significantly higher than the cost of assisted living, which averages at $5,380 per month and way below the monthly fees of assisted living, $10,562.
Costs vary depending on the nature of care provided and state regulations.
Choosing the most appropriate form of care for a loved one is an aggregate of several factors. It is vital to remain realistic about individual abilities to bring them closer to a satisfying life. Consider the following tips:
Allow ample time for dressing, bathing, and meals.
Maintain a regular schedule for the wake and sleep times to mitigate issues related to sundowning and other sleep problems.
Consider the timelines when your loved one functions optimally.
Indulge your loved one in spiritual activities weekly.
Determine ways to engage people in activities that align with their abilities and interests.
Request the person to assist with simple activities such as putting away groceries, setting the table, and folding laundry.
Consider attending a workshop or support group for caregivers to learn how to handle challenging situations. You can find group listings on the ALZ.org website.
Contact a home care provider like Life Care at Home for a free in-home assessment by a nurse.