Memory Care Programs for Seniors: An opportunity for a better life
Many family members caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia at home are reluctant to place them in a memory care community due to a misperception of institutionalized care. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have reassured countless families in Massachusetts looking for the best care for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s that care programs have changed dramatically. Though it’s normal to feel that no one could provide better care than a family member, or have doubts about how strangers can maintain a senior’s dignity in a communal setting, today’s memory care support communities provide opportunities for a better quality of life. And that’s what 2Sisters helped Sandy and Fred find.
A love that couldn’t be forgotten
Sandy and Fred met in high school 54 years ago. They started as fast friends and study buddies, sharing classes. Fred was a tailback for the football team and Sandy was active in their church choir. They started “going steady” in their junior year and have been inseparable since, now married for 51 years.
Four years ago, Fred started forgetting his grandkid’s names. When family visited, he would often tell the same story several times in the span of a couple of hours. After speaking with several doctors, Fred was presented with a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease. Fred’s memory loss progressed quickly. He soon had to give up his driver’s license because he often forgot where he was going while driving to the market. Sandy eventually began to have difficulty caring for Fred. He was much bigger than she, so helping him dress and bath him was extremely difficult. Fred’s disease also left him with no verbal filter and he often lashed out at Sandy. It was impossible for her not to take it personally.
Today’s Memory Care
Senior Living Communities have done away with “dementia wards” and “Alzheimer’s Units.” Today’s Memory Care communities are secure neighborhoods that offer specialized 24 hour support, giving seniors and families the opportunity to live more independent, fulfilled lives.
The Memory Care community we recommended for Fred follows a mantra of “Do With, Not For.” For example, instead of dressing him, they empower him to dress himself. They have the time to talk him through it. By surrounding him with a staff trained for his individual care needs, family members noticed positive results immediately. Simple tasks like organizing decks of cards, and matching socks help him feel useful and keep his brain engaged. Socially, Fred is meeting new people who are also experiencing memory loss and who share his sense of humor. Fred’s joke with his neighbors is “meet you again tomorrow!”
Memory Care communities ensure residents’ live dignified, active lives, offering less rigid schedules than what is often possible with home care. For example, if Fred is agitated and upset when it’s time for a shower, the caregiver has the latitude to come back later when he is calmer. By contrast, Sandy has to just ‘get it done’ because she has 50 other chores to get to. Other benefits include the protection of secure neighborhoods, which keep seniors, like Fred, from wandering away. Injuries due to wandering and getting lost are extremely common for seniors with memory impairment.
Memory Care staff are trained to apply several different techniques to help people living with memory impairment, including:
These techniques offer seniors and their families opportunities for a better quality of life, more independence and the chance to thrive in an environment specially designed for them. Communities that focus on the care needs of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are specially equipped to cope with the special and constantly changing needs of your loved one, from food choices to personal care schedules.
When Fred moved into his Memory Care community, he and Sandy had doubts. Now he is enjoying his new home and his relationship with Sandy has dramatically improved. Since Sandy has shifted from her caregiver role back to being a wife, they are able to maintain a much more fulfilling relationship.
When looking for a Memory Care community, it is much easier to start the search as soon as the diagnosis is made rather than waiting for a crisis. When a family has more time to make a decision, the choice is often much less straining. Memory Care is not the scary thing it used to be. Today’s communities help residents thrive despite living with such debilitating diseases.
Call Alyson and Michelle today to begin the process of finding the best Memory Care community for your family member. (508) 564-0192 or (339) 364-1629