It is an unfortunate fact that if you have been diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer’s there will be a natural progression of the disease and this will lead to an increased dependency on others as your ability to perform daily functions becomes more challenging.
Each stage of Alzheimer’s requires further evaluation of what level of care and supervision is required and what care facilities or options need to be considered. This is where families tend to think about the option of residential care for a loved one, but there are other options to consider, including memory care living.
Maintaining your dignity and independence as much as possible is always going to be a high priority and these are the aims that sites like https://www.pegasusseniorliving.com emphasize when you read information about the services they offer to dementia patients.
The main point to bear in mind is that there are several residential care options available for people who have Alzheimer’s (dementia). Here is a look at those options and what memory care living is all about and how it differs from assisted living.
What is assisted living?
If you are in the early stages of dementia and do not have any specific medical conditions as well, it might be the case that assisted living is suggested as a care option in order to provide help with daily activities.
Your needs are likely to be assessed using a guide that measures your ability to perform a core set of daily tasks that are considered essential to independent living, some of which, dementia sufferers may well struggle with.
This measure is known as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) or the more basic Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
For example, IADLs evaluates whether you are still able to manage your medications, handle money transactions, cook your own meals, use standard appliances like the TV and telephone, and do your shopping competently.
When it comes to ADLs, the tasks that are included in this list includes being able to use the bath and go to the toilet, ability to dress, eating without the help of others, and maintaining good control of continence and bowels.
Evaluating your ability to perform these specific tasks provides a good indication of what level of care and supervision you currently require.
What is a memory care unit?
In general, terms, if you have reached a stage of the disease where you require a greater level of care and supervision it might be suggested that a memory care option would be a good option.
There are memory care units that offer you the choice of being in your own private space or living in a shared living space.
It is also possible that you may find a memory care unit exists within an assisted living facility, which enables continuity of care at all stages of dementia without the upheaval of being moved to a new location.
You will often find that a memory care unit offers similar care services to assisted living but in addition to this, there will likely be a program of additional activities that are specifically designed to stimulate the memory in an attempt to slow the progression of the disease.
Typical activities include enjoying music, doing arts and crafts and playing card games, along with various other pursuits that aim to provide a positive level of stimulation.
Understanding the fundamental differences between memory care and assisted living
At first glance, you may well consider that the services offered under the heading of memory care or assisted living seem very similar in a number of ways but there are distinct differences that need to be highlighted.
One of the most notable distinctions is the physical differences between assisted living and memory care facilities.
You will find that a typical memory care unit will be architectured to meet the specific needs of a dementia payment. For instance, an assisted living layout will include an individual kitchen for each resident, whereas a memory care unit will not have this singular option because it is believed that this will be less stressful for patients.
Memory care units will also tend to put a greater emphasis on helping you to stay safe and secure with added security. This also means that outdoor activities are encouraged but measures are in place to keep patients from leaving the perimeter of the property.
The overriding point to remember is that a memory care unit is designed to allow you to feel relaxed and efforts are made to create an environment that encourages that feeling and remove levels of stress as much as possible.
Stimulating your appetite
Another noticeable aspect of memory care is that there is a definite focus on trying to stimulate your appetite levels, as it is a common symptom for dementia patients to suffer a lack of appetite.
A memory care unit will often feature a dining room that might have brightly colored walls and might even deliberately create a contrast between the color of the food and plate, as this is an approach that has been shown to help stimulate the appetite.
A higher staff to patient ratio
You will normally find that staff to patient ratios are higher than in an assisted living facility.
It can often be left to an individual assessment to determine what level of staffing is required to provide adequate care but the fundamental difference between assisted living and memory care is that the staff to patient ratio will likely be higher in view of the extra needs that have been identified.
There will almost certainly be a dementia care facility that meets your needs or provides the level of support you are seeking for a loved one and understanding what memory care living can provide in terms of emotional and physical support should help to make a decision that is right for everyone.
Alzheimer’s is a worrying common disease but it is also highly individual in the way that it affects each person, which is why it is so important to choose the right level of care and facilities.