Assisted and senior living facilities are designed for individuals who are at the initial stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. At this stage, the symptoms do not get worse enough to cause any medical problem but the patient may need help with ADLs. This is essential to ensure the quality of life during old age. Activities Of Daily Living are tasks that need performing on a daily basis which dementia can make difficult to perform.
Seniors in one such facility may choose to live in a private apartment, studio apartment, or even a shared apartment. Assisted living facilities have 24/7 staff available for help with tasks. Therefore, it is ideal for people who need help with only ADLs. It’s for people who are mostly independent with other self-care tasks. Transportation facility is available for making doctor’s appointments. There are also social activities to bring all residents together. Additionally, assisted living also has dining halls where people can come together to eat meals.
Some living facilities also have special wings/units where the resident can choose to move to as his/her needs become more severe if the person is unable to function independently.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care facilities for seniors are ideal for individuals who need higher levels of care and intensive supervision than is available in assisted living facilities. Other names for these facilities are – Alzheimer’s Care Units and Special Care Units. You can find both shared and private living spaces in a memory care facility. Searchers can choose between independently operational memory care residences or find them as part of a wing within a nursing home or an assisted living unit.
In a memory care facility, you can expect 24/7 supervision by trained caregivers. The facility is designed specifically to meet the unique medical and lifestyle needs of dementia patients. It offers all the facilities of assisted living with added supervision and activities intended to help with memory issues. Additionally, memory care units conduct activities related to games, music, and arts & crafts.
The staff is required to go through special training to treat dementia patients. To ensure a high level of care, these facilities generally maintain a low staff-to-patient ratio.
Assisted Living Communities Services
Monitoring of Medication – Assisted living communities are big on helping people with their everyday tasks. This includes help with meals, monitoring medication, and making sure the person can enjoy an active and stress-free lifestyle.
Personal Care, Including Dressing and Bathing – As we mentioned, the focus of assisted living is to help people with ADLs which are the activities of daily living. This includes looking after personal care and hygiene, helping with dressing, and bathing, etc. This also includes serving meals.
Housekeeping and Laundry – If you are someone who has trouble with performing everyday tasks of cleaning, housekeeping, and doing laundry, you can also subscribe for laundry and housekeeping services. The idea is to create a comfortable and enjoyable living environment as much as possible.
Social and Recreational Activities for Mental Care – It can be isolating for people living in assisted living to be away from their families. To fill this void, assisted living facilities often conduct recreational and social activities. Anything that brings people together in a family-like setting is good for mental health. This can include having meals together, doing arts and crafts, dancing, singing competitions, listening to music together, or having fun board games. The possibilities are endless.
Memory Care Services:
Activities That Can Slow the Advancement of Dementia
Everything in memory care is designed around memory care issues the domino effect of which is degradation in mental health. That’s why memory care units are equipped to stimulate mental health. This means scheduling events and promoting a lifestyle that takes care of everyone’s mental health. It incorporates playful activities coupled with medication that slow down dementia from advancing.
Beneficial Exercise for Mental Care
Certain activities help with cognitive stimulation in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The activities further allow people to feel connected. Certain mild physical and mental activities promote relaxation and comfort.
They also take care of physical strength and promote a sense of balance. A few activities good for mental health offered at memory care units are – gardening, walking in the park, listening to soft music, a round of golf, bowling night, playing music, looking at the pictures together, etc.
Allows Playing Music
Memory care facilities make sure that the music therapy used is not overstimulating for people with anxiety and stress. Often dementia patients suffer from both of these. Therefore, to help with mental health they allow residents to play soft music and dance to soothing and relaxing tracks.
Low staff-to-patient ratio
Because these facilities are more expensive than others, the staff-to-resident ratio is minimum. That means every person on the premise gets undivided attention from doctors, nurses, and staff members. It also gets easier for patients to connect with staff on a more personal level. This kind of arrangement helps with mental health issues since patients get an opportunity to talk about their issues with others.
How Do I Know What Services I Need to Treat Mental Health?
Both of these facilities have a fair share of mental care services to offer. But, memory care services are big on taking care of the mind. Their priority is to slow down the advancement of dementia. Therefore, if your loved one is suffering from memory issues and their mental health is your biggest priority, it’s clear that you should go with a memory care unit.
In the end, you have to assess your situation to see which option fits you best.
Getting the senior in your family moved to an outside facility is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make. So, do take your time, talk to your healthcare professional and do some research. Be sure to invest plenty of time.
Updated: March 29, 2021