Why is Memory Care For Seniors Important?
The history and development of care homes for the elderly have been evolving for many decades. What originated as Almshouses and Old Folk homes in the early 1900s, run by volunteers and supported by donations, have evolved into very sophisticated specialized homes today.
The advent of specialized care for Seniors with Dementia is relatively new. Sadly, it is a growing need. Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, an annual report released by the Alzheimer’s Association, reveals the burden of Alzheimer’s and dementia on individuals, caregivers, government, and the nation’s health care system.
The Alzheimer’s website is full of important information about the disease itself and the special care that those who are suffering from dementia need. The site opens with a specific definition of the disease, “Alzheimer’s disease is a type of brain disease, just as coronary artery disease is a type of heart disease. It is caused by damage to nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. The brain’s neurons are essential to thinking, walking, talking, and all human activity.” There can be many reasons for brain cells to suffer damage, but the broadest term is labeled dementia. Specific types of dementia include Alzheimer’s and multiple other diagnoses, including Cerebrovascular disease, Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), Lewy body disease, and Parkinson’s disease (PD). The website www.alz.org is a valuable tool for everyone who is dealing with dementia.
Three key reasons that senior Dementia residents need special care:
The first and most obvious reason that Dementia residents need special attention is the risk of disorientation and becoming confused and lost. Many people who suffer from brain deficiencies are very healthy otherwise. As families try to meet their needs at home, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep them safe. Eventually, caregivers must be present with their loved ones 24/7.
Joe and his wife lived in their family home for 40 years. Everything was familiar and comfortable. But Joe’s 60-year bride, Suzanne, began to show signs of memory loss. He cared for her at home as long as possible. But there were increasing numbers of ‘accidents’ with burned food, running water in an upstairs bedroom, and attempts to find the car keys and drive the car. On several occasions, Suzanne went for a walk in the neighborhood as she had done for years. Joe was unaware for just a few minutes, but it was enough time for her to get confused and completely lost. Thank heavens, one of the neighbors who was home that day found her wandering and quite upset. After they were reunited, it became apparent that something else needed to happen. It becomes an overwhelming responsibility to watch after a loved one 24/7. It is exhausting for the caregiver.”
Statistically, there is a much greater chance that the caregiver will have a major health event before the one cared for. And that leads to an emergency for both of them.
Memory Units are designed to be secure and free of any dangerous elements. There are always staff members present to make sure residents are safe. All of this is done in a way that residents don’t feel like they are locked up. When a resident wants to go outside for a walk, there will always be someone to go with them. Meals are provided so there is no chance of fire hazard. Medications are kept in a safe place and delivered at the appropriate time. There are many details that go into a Memory Care unit.
Another reason that senior Dementia residents need special care:
The staff that work in a Memory Care unit needs special training. McCrite Plaza provides time and special training for Memory Care Nurses, CNAs, CMAs, and other caregivers, including dietary staff.
There is a special awareness of the language used. No one will say, “Can’t you remember.” Or “No, your daughter is not coming today.” When conversing with dementia residents, going with them in their thoughts is important. It is not about who is right and who is wrong. The residents lead the conversation and can simply be guided to the best communications. Much of their lives are lived in the past, and it is vital to go with them as if it is in the present.
The important thing is that staff will have extensive training to cope with and comfort residents. It is critical that residents are treated with dignity and respect and never made to feel stupid or belittled.
The third and critical service that senior memory residents need:
Memory Care residents need lots of activities and stimulation to keep them active and busy. Since most cannot create their own activities, they need guidance and supervision. Music, games, outdoor time, and art projects are all important. Again, this takes lots of staff time and involvement.
It is also essential for the staff to learn exactly which of the residents get overstimulated and need quiet time. Not all residents have the same needs. When other health issues prevail, it may require additional assistance.
All residents will need hygiene support, medication management, meal prep and serving, bedtime assistance, and other services.
McCrite Plaza Topeka is proud to announce a new Memory Care Unit in Assisted Living.
This will round out the full continuum of care in Topeka. November 2023 will mark the debut of this new floor in St Andrews. It is designed to meet all the needs of our special Memory Care residents.
For our current residents and those needing care for the first time, we invite you to come for a tour and learn all about the special features provided.
Call us in Briarcliff-Kansas City at (816) 888-7930 or (785) 267-2960 in Topeka, or complete the contact form to schedule a tour and see everything available to make life exciting for your future!