As kids start to realize that their family member is beginning to show signs of memory loss and may be in need of assisted living or memory care, the immediate question becomes, “How long can my mom/dad stay in their home alone?”
What begins as innocuous short-term memory loss and repetitious questions may quickly progress to dangerous situations like wandering outside in freezing weather conditions and medication mistakes that have deadly consequences.
So often those with dementia have strong and healthy bodies, but their minds are failing them. This creates unique problems because these individuals seem able to take care of themselves as they always have. Elders that have physical limitations but are completely cognitive realize their need for assistance, while those with dementia are oftentimes more resistant to care.
- Assisted Living is designed to support those individuals with physical limitations, but whose cognition is relatively good.
- Memory Care is designed to support those individuals who may or may not have physical limitations but do have compromised memory function which endangers their life.
Why Memory Care in Kansas City?
Not all senior retirement communities in Kansas City have a specific area for Elders with Dementia or Alzheimers. This type of care takes a secure area to protect against wandering and staff that is trained to work with these special residents.
The Piper has two households of 20 residents each, that are specifically designed for memory Support.
Apartments are studio style so that there are fewer walls and barriers to physically navigate. Since spacial orientation is a challenge, all areas of the apartment, including the bathroom, are visible for the center of the room.
Memory Support Staff members are trained to communicate and support residents with compassion and respect.
Communication is more than just talking and listening – it’s also about sending and receiving messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.
Staff is continually learning new ways to communicate as the disease progresses. In the smaller setting at The Piper, residents see the same staff every day which provides familiarity and recognition.
Providing the proper amount of stimulation to encourage memory function is balanced with creating a calm and relaxing environment for those that are easily irritated.
Activities like painting, singing, and storytelling allow residents to use ingrained skills and abilities that remain intact.
Delicious and healthy meals are prepared and served family-style to create an atmosphere of safety and security. Queuing for meals is also provided to make sure that everyone has nutritious lifestyle habits.
Why would my loved one need Memory Care?
Families sometimes struggle with the decision to move their family member to Memory Care as opposed to regular Assisted Living. It may be a denial that there is a serious issue or a lack of understanding about what Memory Care is.
A wife of one of a resident said after her long struggle to decide to move her husband, “I had not realized that when he was at home I was always trying to help fit him into our past “normal life” and once he moved to The Piper Memory Support in Kansas City I suddenly realized that he now could fit into his own world and the struggle was over for both of us.” Her visits became relaxed and enjoyable without expectations for either of them.
Wandering is a serious issue for those with Dementia, especially if the individuals still drive. Daily we see Silver Alerts that describe someone with Dementia who is lost away from home. Nothing is more frightening.
Why is the term “locked facility” used?
Because of the wandering issue, it is import that residents live in a safe and secure space while at the same time not feeling like a prison. The Piper has two secured households and the word ‘locked’ is not used by staff.
A doorbell at the front allows families and guests to visit easily and respect the safety concerns of each household.
A beautiful fenced outdoor space creates a feeling of freedom and allows for additional exercise.
The decision to determine between regular Assisted Living or Memory Support will be made by family and staff together.
When there is a question or confusion about what type of care is needed, an assessment can answer the question.
An appointed is set up with the director of nursing to visit with the potential new resident with family present. A variety of mini-mental tests can be given and with a conversation with all involved, a decision can be made if it is time for Memory Care.
These assessments are not intimidating and can be very casual in nature to ensure the best responses from the new resident and help educate the family.
It is important that each individual has a specific care plan that fits their needs. The goal is to provide support while encouraging as much independence as possible.
If the symptoms of Dementia or Alzheimers are minimal, a move to regular Assisted Living may be the best decision for the time being, but keeping the prospect of Memory Support for a later date.
The important thing is to allow and encourage all residents to live the best life possible.
All residents deserve respect and dignity no matter their situation.
If you would like to speak to someone about the decision for your loved one to move into Assisted Living or Memory Care, contact The Piper today.