A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia for your loved one may leave you with more questions than answers. What can you expect? Can you provide them adequate care at home? What are your options when more support is needed? We can help by sharing the signs that might indicate your loved one would benefit from memory care. And why the transition to memory care in a residential setting is often easier on the entire family.
Alzheimer’s: What to Watch For
As you likely know, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. While in the early stages, most seniors are able to remain largely independent with a strong support system in place. Seniors with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease will need 24/7 care. It’s in the middle stage that behaviors such as wandering, disrupted sleeping and/or eating patterns as well as increased anxiety and irritability emerge. It’s usually within this stage that it’s time to consider memory care.
However, each person’s journey with Alzheimer’s is unique so there’s no specific timetable that you can plan on. As such, it’s best to look for signs that indicate the time for memory care is near such as:
- Safety Issues
- Has your loved one confused day and night?
- Do they forget to turn off burners when cooking or use electrical appliances incorrectly?
- Have they set the thermostat extremely hot or cold?
- Are they getting lost frequently when leaving the house?
- Do they often lock the keys in the car and/or the house?
- Have they started wandering?
- Have they exhibited any other behaviors that are dangerous to themselves or others?
- Health Issues
- Is your loved one becoming more agitated and anxious?
- Are they having problems with incontinence?
- Have you noticed sudden weight loss or gain?
- Do they have decreased mobility?
- Are they frequently forgetting to bathe?
- Have they been making an increasing number of medication errors?
- Emotional Wellbeing
- Does your loved one seem depressed?
- Do they have a range of opportunities for social stimulation?
- Are they exposed to activities that can help strengthen cognitive functioning?
- Do caregivers and/or loved ones know how to appropriately manage agitation and other common behaviors in those with Alzheimer’s?
What to Expect in Memory Care
Memory care is a type of senior living that is specifically designed to support and nurture those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The staff is specially trained and care is provided in a safe environment with opportunities for your loved one to find purpose and joy.
Your loved one can typically expect:
- 24-hour supervised care
- Private or semi-private accommodations
- Three daily meals and snacks
- Medication management
- Assistance with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and eating
- Cognitive and physical therapy
- Fitness programs
- Structured social activities
- Housekeeping and laundry services
You can find memory care in three types of settings:
- As a neighborhood or unit within an assisted living community
- In a stand-alone memory care community; often also on the same campus as other types of senior living
- A residential setting such as boutique senior living
Why Memory Care is Better in Boutique Senior Living
Much like it sounds, memory care in a residential setting is care that’s provided in a home. We refer to it as boutique senior living because our homes blend the amenities of large memory care communities with the comforting feel of home. It’s a smaller, more personalized experience that’s more similar to what your loved one is used to in their own home.
This makes for an easier transition to memory care when the time comes. In large memory care communities, the institutional feel, the number of people and the sprawling campus can be overwhelming to anyone, but especially those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In our homes, your loved one will share life with only 10 to 16 residents max. Other benefits include:
More personalized care – One of the greatest benefits to those in memory care with us is our 1 to 5 caregiver to resident ratio – nearly unheard of in large senior living communities! Here, your loved one will have 24/7 care provided by experienced CNAs and caregivers who really know them and whom they feel comfortable. Not to mention, doctors also visit onsite and a nurse oversees the daily plan of care.
A calm, peaceful environment – One of the best ways to help the anxiety and agitation your loved one may experience is through their environment. In a large memory care community, noise and commotion simply can’t be avoided. Our homes offer the tranquility your loved one is used to as they are located on rural roads in small Midwestern neighborhoods.
Familiar feel – Familiarity is so important to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Memory care in boutique senior living offers that through the décor, the layout and intimate settings like family-style meals on our handmade farm tables. But your loved one will still have plenty of space for themselves as each of our homes is at least 4,000 square feet with private and semi-private accommodation options.
The same features – Don’t worry, your loved one won’t lack for the all the extras they would receive in a large memory care community. Our boutique senior living homes also feature beautifully landscaped grounds, laundry and cleaning services, transportation and safety features such as fall alert pendants, state-of-the-art video monitoring and keypad entry/exit access. Plus, they’ll enjoy activity programs with daily exercises, socialization, cognitive stimulation and immersive activities as well as group outings and live entertainment.
Peace of mind for the family – Families often feel guilty about moving their loved one to memory care. Yet in boutique senior living you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that not only does your loved one have the care they need; they have plenty of opportunities to enjoy life alongside a close-knit group of residents and caregivers who are like an extended family.
For more information on memory care at Shepherd Premier or to schedule a virtual tour, call (224) 333-6247 to speak to a team member.