The Single Most Important Item Families Need to Know About Memory Care

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Discovery Village At The Forum

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Aug 04, 2023

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Florida - Southwest

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Family is a powerful force that makes experiencing the many joys of life even more special, and also makes tough times more manageable. But sometimes families need a support system, too, and that’s especially true when it comes to caring for a loved one with a memory-related condition.

If you, like millions of Americans, are currently managing a loved one’s care on your own, then you understand the demands and the level of commitment that’s required. And it’s likely, whether consciously or sub-consciously, that you realize that’s probably not the best way forward long term.

We see it all too often that while struggling under the weight of this emotional decision, too many families hesitate, or even worse, they never do decide on a proper Memory Care solution for their loved ones. So if only one point from this article really sticks with you, let it be this:

When caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another cognitive diagnosis, you shouldn’t go it alone. In fact, overcoming the stigma and asking for help can unlock in very short order a vastly improved way of life for not just your loved one, but for your entire family.

Recognize That You’re Not Alone

Today, some 43.5 million US adults are acting as sole caregivers for an aging parent. (Source: Institute on Aging) For many, it’s because of sentimental attachment and the desire to ensure a loved one’s care by administering it themselves. For others, it’s because of old or misguided perceptions about senior living and care communities; perceptions that might quickly be erased the moment they set foot in one of today’s new and more scientifically-advanced settings!

Science aside, however, the benefits of high-quality memory care services are visible at the human level each and every day. You’ll see it in the wider and more frequent smiles from your loved one, and in the more effective interactions with care professionals. But perhaps most notably, you yourself will feel liberated from the physical and emotional strain of caretaking. You’ll have more time to socialize and practice proper self-care. And you’ll feel a sense of pride and satisfaction, knowing you acted in the very best interests of your entire family.

Overcoming the Stigma of Asking for Help

Today’s seniors are living long enough to experience multiple, simultaneous health issues and depend even more on relatives for care that, let’s face it, very few are able and truly qualified to give. And that’s why a fine first step is just being honest and admitting that you can’t do it alone…and that’s fine, because we don’t work alone, either!

By joining forces at the community level, and working in close partnership with families, we utilize a team approach to deliver personalized care and the finest possible living experience for each resident. The benefits, however, don’t end there.

For families, entrusting a loved one’s daily care to a team of experienced and well-trained professionals restores normality and peace of mind. And family ties might actually grow stronger this way, as family members can remain present and actively involved in their loved one’s life, but no longer have to balance the delicate role of caretaker, nor assume full responsibility for a loved one’s day-to-day safety, wellness and personal care.

In emotional times, it’s often difficult to recognize when the best thing you can do for your loved one is to ask for help yourself. Indeed, a unified family is a great start, but when you join forces with a quality memory care provider whose mission is the same as yours—to ensure lasting happiness and lifestyle quality for your loved one(s)—you get a recipe for exceptional care.

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Visits to Memory Care

While many people focus on holiday visits, your loved one in assisted living or memory care should enjoy spending time with their family and friends all year round. No one wants to feel alone or forgotten. Visiting a senior loved one who resides in memory care can be complicated, however especially when mental and cognitive challenges are resulting in unpredictable behavior. These visitations, while often difficult, are an important part of taking care of someone with memory loss or dementia. In this article, we help families prepare for and enjoy their memory care visits, providing concrete advice for those who fear that dementia is harming their relationship.Advice for Dementia Care Patient VisitsDevelop Empathy for Their ExperienceWhen a family member experiencing dementia begins to act out with aggression, it is usually related to their medical diagnosis. Dementia can adversely impact behavior, mood, and sense of reality, often causing anger or fear. Loved ones should not consider these episodes as personal attacks instead, illogical reactions are likely symptoms of their declining brain function. By understanding that these reactions are associated with the disease, family members can set their expectations before visiting, and prepare to respond with compassion. Educating oneself about the progression of dementia helps to provide valuable insight into what they are experiencing.Expect a Range of Emotions Preparing mentally for memory care visits can positively impact those interactions with your loved one that you dread. Some days will be better than others, that is an undeniable fact. On a good day, your loved one may be smiling and loving. On a difficult day, however, they may be so confused that they do not even recognize their loved ones. Before visits, mentally prepare for all possibilities.Establish a Familiar and Comforting RoutineCreating a routine can provide much-needed calm in the storm that a dementia patient finds themselves in. Begin with a familiar greeting and develop a consistent routine for your visits. Whether sharing photos, strolling through the garden, or watching reruns of an old TV show, familiar routines can significantly reduce anxiety and offer a sense of shared interests. If you notice a positive reaction to a specific word, action, or activity, be sure to use it often.Integrate Compassion into Your Conversations Effective communication with a family member with dementia requires patience. Approach each conversation with a calm, measured tone, using clear and easy-to-understand language. If they cant find the right words or become frustrated,  dont correct them, just smile and continue the conversation. Non-verbal actions like a gentle hand on the shoulder can communicate affection when words are difficult.Manage Challenging Moments Its important to stay calm if the situation becomes too challenging, as arguing or fighting can escalate fear and anxiety for your loved one. Try to gently change the focus of the conversation, or introduce a more soothing activity. If your family members become overly agitated, acknowledge their emotions and provide them with some space. The personnel at the memory care community are invaluable partners in these situations, as they have the required experience and knowledge required to address their needs and behaviors. Remember, the objective is always to establish a feeling of safety and support, even during visits.My Care Finders helps families find the right assisted living or memory care facility for their loved ones needs and requirements. Call us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation and assess your needs. Our professional team is trained to work with families of those with dementia, and we are prepared to help you and your family cultivate and maintain loving relationships.

What Is Memory Care and Where to Find It?

Usually found within assisted living facilities and nursing homes, memory care offers specialized services for people with Alzheimers and dementia. Demand for this type of care is rising even though the cost can be prohibitive. But many find that their loved ones are better able to get the care they need in facilities that specialize in providing expert care to those in various levels of cognitive decline.If you are considering memory care for your loved one, its worth considering what these facilities offer as you weigh the associated costs. Learn about assisted living and nursing home facilities that expertly meet the needs of people with Alzheimers and dementia.Article | Dementia Diagnosis: First Steps for CaregiversWhat Is Memory Care?According to the National Council on Aging, a memory care unit or facility provides specialized residential care for people living with Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia.Some memory care facilities are stand-alone while others are part of a larger senior living community. The latter can mean that memory care patients are integrated into a larger facility to varying degrees. Often, the stand-alone facility or a memory care wing in a larger community is secured with locked doors to keep wandering residents safe.Either way, whether stand-alone or integrated, research shows memory care results in better patient outcomes for patients in cognitive decline. According to the National Institute on Aging, when over 90% of patients in a nursing home have dementia, they receive better care. When a smaller proportion are in significant cognitive decline, care suffers.This suggests that focus and specialization is key to memory care success.Is Memory Care Different in Assisted Living VS Nursing Homes?Both of these facilities can offer memory care. The main difference is that your loved one will have more help with daily activities and more medical care in a nursing home. Memory care units, whether stand-alone or integrated as wings in a larger community offer round-the-clock supervision and care. About 14% of assisted living communities offer memory care units.Assisted living is best for seniors who are more independent and with fewer medical needs. They offer help with activities like bathing, dressing, and cooking. Residents have their own apartments or rooms and share common areas and dining rooms. Assisted living communities also offer meal and laundry services, medication management, and recreational activities. All of these things can be enjoyed by residents with more physical and cognitive independence.You can consult with individual facilities to determine their specific level of care and what assistance is offered.But in either case, facilities that offer memory care would provide the same basic features:Secured unitsConsistent caregivers who establish relationshipsActivities and stimulation to aid in cognition and memoryHow Expensive Is Memory Care?As you probably expected, memory care costs more than typical nursing home care. Its a heightened level of expertise that demands a higher cost. But you may have some options to assist in paying for it.If your loved one qualifies for Medicaid, its possible some dementia care costs could be covered.Medicare doesnt usually cover long-term care in a nursing home, because the care is associated more with daily activities than medical treatment.Medicare Special Needs Plans may offer benefits for people with dementia.You can compare memory care facilities using a state-by-state list compiled by SeniorHomes.com. Youll notice a range from as low as $3,233 to as high as $5,642.Memory care costs typically vary based on:LocationType of apartmentSize of apartmentOffered servicesAmenitiesLevel of care requiredBefore making your final decision, consider all the possible financial assistance that could be available to you.What to Expect from Staff in Memory Care FacilitiesRecommended ratios of staff to patients vary between states. But adequate staffing is critical for good memory care as each patient requires proper attention. Therefore, an ideal ratio is about 1 staff to 6 patients. Staff usually include caregivers, nurses, therapists, housekeepers, activities directors, and hospitality staff.Signs of an inadequate facility:Strong smells: Whether good or bad, strong smells often indicate poor housekeeping or not enough housekeeping staff. Bad smells are an obvious indication, but watch out for strong good smells too. Facilities sometimes use strong air fresheners to mask odors.Constant television: If the TV is always on or residents spend a majority of their time watching it, it could mean the activities program at the facility is weak. They should have a schedule that includes many engaging activities. Television contributes to cognitive decline and should only be watched for a small portion of the day.Unhappy, distracted caregivers: Relationships are crucial for memory care. Instead, look for a facility with caregivers that primarily show love and respect to residents and families. This is a sign of a great facilityMemory care facility evaluation questions:Is the staff positive and respectful when communicating?Does the staff treat residents like adults, offering them privacy and dignity?Is the staff skilled at redirection, shifting residents attention in a way that keeps anxiety or anger at a minimum?Nighttime Memory CareProfessional memory care staff should be equipped to handle a common dementia struggle called sundowning. This is the term used to describe dementia symptoms like behavior disturbances and confusion that peak in evening and night hours.Facilities who are prepared to care for patients with sundowning usually incorporate:Natural light for living spaces during daytime hoursSunrooms or sun lampsBlackout blinds at nighttime and nightlights with dim or muted lightMemory care staff should receive special training in how to help patients with sundowning syndrome.Sensory Stimulation Therapy for Memory CareA memory care facility understands that engaging residents often requires reaching them through their senses. This means that activities often incorporate the senses in ways that help both explore (stimulate) and relax. Stress and anxiety can trigger dementia patients and make their symptoms worse.One type of sensory therapy called Snoezelen, combines exploration with relaxation. Its a popular type of therapy for memory care patients. Its multisensory, providing an experience that involves light, sound, smell, and touch therapy.Usually, a facility will have a room dedicated to sensory stimulation therapy where residents can go as designated or as needed. Some example therapies included:ScrapbookingMusic and brain gamesExercise programs (walking, gardening, chair yoga)Spiritual activities (meditation, singing, reflective nature walks)Lifeskill activities like cookingAll of these activities combine sensory stimulation with relaxing activities that benefit and sooth dementia patients.When Is It Time for a Memory Care Facility?Just because your loved one has dementia doesnt mean you must be moved to a memory care facility. Safety is the biggest reason families move their loved ones into a memory care unit. There may come a time when a dementia patient needs to be protected from falls and from the dangers of wandering in confusion.Perhaps you're wondering if your loved one is in the early stages of dementia. How do you identify it? Here are some common signs other than memory impairment:CombativenessAggressionLoss of interest in activitiesIncontinencePoor hygieneSudden fallsWandering, getting lostSleep changesRepeating stories within minutesMobility issuesThe memory care facility typically performs an assessment of physical, medical, and cognitive abilities before a patient is moved into their facility. This helps ensure the right level of care.You might also consider a memory care facility if your loved one is struggling to remain social, active, or engaged. You might notice their quality of life declining, especially if they live alone. In these cases, it might be time to consider a memory care facility to keep them active, social, and engaged in ways that will slow cognitive decline and improve their overall well-being.Transitioning to Memory CareIts important to be sure a change is needed. Moving your loved one with dementia away from their daily routine or existing community can be very disruptive to their life. This can be very taxing and temporarily increase dementia symptoms. This is especially true if there are people in their existing environment that they are very attached to, like a friend, therapist, or caregiver. Additionally, there is a greater risk of sudden falls and confused wandering when in an unfamiliar place.Transitions are temporary, and there are ways to ensure it goes more smoothly. The key is verifying the change is necessary at that time.Individualized NeedsDementia care needs differ according to the patient, which means youll need to pinpoint the specific cares of your loved one and match them with a facility. To help you get started, consider the following:Input from your loved ones doctorsAmount of care neededAttitude and atmosphere of the facilityTypes of amenities and activities that interest your loved oneBe sure to tour at least three facilities before making a final decision.TYE Medical offers premium incontinence products in various sizes and absorbency levels. Shop our online store for discreet and free shipping on all orders. 

What to Do When a Loved One Refuses to Recognize Health Concerns

What to Do When a Loved One Refuses to Recognize Health ConcernsProviding care for a family member as they age or face health challenges is an act of kindness that can bring you closer together, but what if your loved one doesnt share your concerns about their health? Recognizing health concerns is the first step toward finding the right support, but denial can be a formidable obstacle. Community Senior Lifes senior living communities in Alabama are dedicated to creating a safe and empowering environment for residents. We tailor our services to meet each individuals unique lifestyle, preferences, and needs, and were sharing some valuable insights into what to do when your family member refuses to acknowledge health concerns.Recognizing Health ConcernsThe health and well-being of our family members are often at the forefront of our minds. However, when those we care about refuse to acknowledge health concerns, it can become a source of tension and constant worry.Understanding the root of this denial and developing a strategy to address it is essential not just for their health but also for maintaining a trusting relationship.There could be numerous reasons why someone might refuse to acknowledge health concerns. Fear of a potential diagnosis, the perceived stigma associated with illness, or simply the reluctance to face the reality of aging can prompt denial. There are also many emotional factors that can come into play in these situations as well, such as pride, fear of losing independence, or a desire not to cause worry among family members.Approaching the IssueWhen initiating this difficult conversation, its critical to approach your family member with empathy and actively listen to their perspective. Choose a time and place where you can communicate honestly, calmly, and without any distractions. Its essential to voice your concerns without casting judgment or assigning blame, as this can often deepen their resistance. Reassurance is key, and by telling your loved one that you want to help them rather than make them feel bad, you can create a sense of support. Here are some ways you can express these feelings: I want you to enjoy the best quality of life that you can; you deserve it! I understand that you want to remain independent. Can we talk more about how senior living can help you do that? You mean so much to me, and I would love to have the opportunity to help you. Seeking a Support SystemA united front can also be very effective when discussing the situation, and including other family members can help ensure everyone delivers the same message of concern and support. Sometimes, the authority of a professional can make all the difference when encouraging your loved one to visit a healthcare provider. It can help alleviate their apprehensions and provide them with the guidance they need to seek a proper assessment and get advice. If they remain resistant, including a therapist or counselors unbiased and professional opinion in these discussions could be beneficial.Aside from therapy or counseling, you can also turn to your family members close friends, neighbors, or even a community figure that your loved one trusts. This will strengthen the support system surrounding your loved one and help emphasize just how important they are to the people around them. Taking Care of YourselfWhile caring for others, dont forget to take care of yourself. Managing your emotions and stress is vital for your health, so contact your close friends, discover support groups, or even consult professional support for your emotional well-being. Additionally, be sure to get quality sleep and plenty of exercise to maintain your physical health.Facing a family member who denies their health issues is a daunting task, but its a challenge that requires persistence, patience, and, most importantly, love. Your support and understanding can make all the difference in helping them recognize the need for care.Remember, youre not alone in this journey, and with the right approach, your family member can get the help they need to live a healthier and fuller life.Community Senior Life understands that recognizing health concerns is only the starting point, and were here to remind you that with time, your efforts can lead to better health and quality of life for those you cherish most. Our senior living communities in Alabama aim to provide the comfort and peace of mind that families need when their loved one is facing difficult times.  Contact our senior living team at 251-981-0200 in Alabama today to learn more!

Local Services By This Author

Discovery Village At The Forum

Independent Living 2645 Forum Blvd., Fort Myers, Florida, 33905

Welcome to Discovery Village, where exceptional senior living meets stylish comfort in Fort Myers, FL. Our community offers a range of senior living options, including independent living, assisted living, and SHINE Memory Care, all designed to cater to your unique needs and preferences.Explore our floor plans and pricing to find the perfect fit for your lifestyle. Our independent living options provide the freedom and flexibility you desire, while our assisted living services offer personalized care and support. For those needing memory care, our SHINE Memory Care program provides specialized attention in a secure environment.At Discovery Village, we understand that senior living is about more than just a place to liveit's about living well. That's why we offer exclusive lifestyle programs that promote a stress-free way of life. From daily happy hours to live music events, church services, and even trips to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, there's always something exciting happening at our community.Our resort-style amenities include an outdoor dining area, poolside cabanas, a bar and bistro, two dining rooms, a fitness center, and more, ensuring that every day is filled with endless opportunities for fun and relaxation.Take a virtual tour of our community to see for yourself the exceptional senior living experience we offer at Discovery Village. Whether you're exploring options for yourself or a loved one, we invite you to schedule an in-person tour to discover why Discovery Village at The Forum is the perfect place to call home.We look forward to welcoming you to our community!

Discovery Village At The Forum

Memory Care 2619 Forum Boulevard, Fort Myers, Florida, 33905

Welcome to Discovery Village, where exceptional senior living meets stylish comfort in Fort Myers, FL. Our community offers a range of senior living options, including independent living, assisted living, and SHINE Memory Care, all designed to cater to your unique needs and preferences.Explore our floor plans and pricing to find the perfect fit for your lifestyle. Our independent living options provide the freedom and flexibility you desire, while our assisted living services offer personalized care and support. For those needing memory care, our SHINE Memory Care program provides specialized attention in a secure environment.At Discovery Village, we understand that senior living is about more than just a place to liveit's about living well. That's why we offer exclusive lifestyle programs that promote a stress-free way of life. From daily happy hours to live music events, church services, and even trips to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, there's always something exciting happening at our community.Our resort-style amenities include an outdoor dining area, poolside cabanas, a bar and bistro, two dining rooms, a fitness center, and more, ensuring that every day is filled with endless opportunities for fun and relaxation.Take a virtual tour of our community to see for yourself the exceptional senior living experience we offer at Discovery Village. Whether you're exploring options for yourself or a loved one, we invite you to schedule an in-person tour to discover why Discovery Village at The Forum is the perfect place to call home.We look forward to welcoming you to our community!

Discovery Village At The Forum

Assisted Living 2619 Forum Boulevard, Fort Myers, Florida, 33905

Welcome to Discovery Village, where exceptional senior living meets stylish comfort in Fort Myers, FL. Our community offers a range of senior living options, including independent living, assisted living, and SHINE Memory Care, all designed to cater to your unique needs and preferences.Explore our floor plans and pricing to find the perfect fit for your lifestyle. Our independent living options provide the freedom and flexibility you desire, while our assisted living services offer personalized care and support. For those needing memory care, our SHINE Memory Care program provides specialized attention in a secure environment.At Discovery Village, we understand that senior living is about more than just a place to liveit's about living well. That's why we offer exclusive lifestyle programs that promote a stress-free way of life. From daily happy hours to live music events, church services, and even trips to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, there's always something exciting happening at our community.Our resort-style amenities include an outdoor dining area, poolside cabanas, a bar and bistro, two dining rooms, a fitness center, and more, ensuring that every day is filled with endless opportunities for fun and relaxation.Take a virtual tour of our community to see for yourself the exceptional senior living experience we offer at Discovery Village. Whether you're exploring options for yourself or a loved one, we invite you to schedule an in-person tour to discover why Discovery Village at The Forum is the perfect place to call home.We look forward to welcoming you to our community!