It is important to distinguish between these two specialized care communities and what is the right place for mom or dad.
How are Memory Care Facilities different from Assisted Living Facilities?
All Seniors that are in need of care with their activities of daily living or ADLs could benefit from Assisted Living. When Elders have been diagnosed with dementia or cognitive decline, it may become necessary to find a dementia care facility.
Dementia care provides additional support beyond physical needs and supervision is provided 24 hours per day.
Although an individual may be very healthy and active, dementia or Alzheimers can require caregivers to provide direction and queuing to maintain safety and security.
Memory Care may be the ideal option
For individuals with dementia who require a higher level of skilled care and supervision, memory care units are an ideal option.
Also referred to as Special Care Units (SCUs) or Alzheimer’s Care Units, these units offer both private and shared living spaces.
Sometimes they exist as a wing within an assisted living facility or nursing home, or they operate as stand-alone residences.
Memory care units offer the same services as assisted living facilities with increased supervision, plus activities intended to stimulate memory, and possibly slow the disease’s progression.
Staff Training is essential
Specialized training is an important part of any memory care facility.
Working with Alzheimer’s residents requires patience, appropriate language, and conversation style.
It is important that these individuals need to be affirmed at all times.
We care for the whole person so that the mind is stimulated and their memories are cherished and encouraged.
If a resident can’t remember meal times or other daily care, we do it for them with gentle guidance and cheerfulness.
Dignity is of utmost importance
Although laughter is an important part of every resident’s day, we are sure that we are laughing with them, never at them.
It is necessary to guard against their insecurities and feelings of paranoia.
Holding On To The Dignity by Brenda Race says, “We must remember that inside that body which is gradually losing its ability to control itself is a real person. A soul still remains of the one you once knew! We need to adapt to their needs, not make them adapt to ours. When you remember this, it’s not hard to treat them as a person who still has needs, someone who had hopes and dreams, someone who feels, someone who is still capable of giving and receiving love. It all comes back to that old saying…walk a mile in their shoes….how would you like to be treated?”
Why is the atmosphere important?
The Memory Care facility must have an atmosphere that is fresh, attractive, light and fun, but also calming at the same time. Too much stimulation can be counterproductive.
Many activities enhance memory like music, dancing, playing games, and watching movies and sporting events. Doing crafts and art projects can be very motivating and enjoyable.
When possible and safe, being outside is a pleasurable experience for residents.
It is extremely important that memory care facilities are secured for safety, but don’t feel repressive.
Memory Care vs Memory Support
There is a subtle but important difference in a community like The Piper that approaches individuals with cognitive decline as memory support, not just physical caregivers.
The emphasis is on allowing residents to maintain as much autonomy as possible and helping them to make choices that make them independent.
We support all aspects of the individual, especially freedom to eat foods they love and enjoy activities that are meaningful.
We are there to serve and support these individuals. We invite you to come and see The Piper difference.
A personal anecdote from The Piper
One of our resident family members came by our office to discuss her husband’s recent move-in. It had been a very difficult decision for her to make, but she simply could not manage at home with him any longer. As she sank into the office chair she said, “I’ve had a revelation that never occurred to me when I was making the decision to move Bill from home. When I come to see him now this whole environment is about him and I’m the one that needs to fit in. When he was at home I was always trying to make him seem normal, and he’s not his old self. But now he is the ‘normal’ one and everyone in his household appreciates and accepts him as being fully himself! I’m not trying to change him anymore and I am so happy for all of us!”