For those with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, memories may fade, and the ability to complete certain tasks without assistance may be a thing of the past. But what does not go away is a desire for meaning and purpose in each day. The task for many family caregivers is how to create a supportive environment structured to accommodate the loved one’s challenges, while offering the positive reinforcement that is so important.
For many, a memory care setting is the option that provides benefits for everyone—and those benefits are evident every day.
Memory support improves quality of life
From the early onset stages of dementia through to the later stages of the disease, some factors that affect the quality of life in dementia patients include general mood, engagement in enjoyable activities, ease of physical functioning, and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Memory care communities are known to provide an improved quality of life for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients in a number of different ways.
- Specialized programming can help improve memory impairment issues, wandering frequency, and other common behavioral issues. Advanced programs can provide personalized therapy for each unique individual, focusing on that person’s life story, preferences, hobbies and interests, and daily habits. For example, engaging the person in familiar tasks such as folding laundry, planting a flower, or baking cookies offers a sense of fulfillment and comfort.
- Another way memory support improves quality of life is through caregivers and staff who have received specific training in working with dementia residents. Knowing how to offer prompts and cues at the right time eases tasks such as dressing, grooming and dining, whereas a family caregiver can become impatient and heighten the anxiety of the situation. Memory care communities are staffed by people who understand the importance of eye contact and one-on-one engagement, and know how to help a person feel comfortable and at home. From how to approach an adult with dementia to how to communicate with an adult who has lost their verbal skills, caregivers are trained to help residents live better lives.
- In memory care, a person with dementia is living in a therapeutic setting designed to reduce the possibility of wandering, thus reducing confusion and frustration. Soothing colors and furnishings also help set a peaceful mood which can help a person go about their day with less worry. Many communities feature a secure outdoor courtyard or garden area where residents can get outside, visit with family, and enjoy fresh air in a secure environment. Safe access to the outdoors is a great example of how memory support improves quality of life.
- Studies indicate that reminiscing about past events can slow cognitive decline, improve mood, and stabilize general behavior. In a setting with their peers and trained caregivers, those with dementia often feel freer to talk about the memories that are still clear. This can be difficult to do with families who already are stressed with the overwhelming responsibilities of caregiving and may lack the time to just be still with their loved one.
- Peace of mind is an important way memory support improves quality of life. First, the resident is living in a calm, structured environment with familiar faces and a familiar routine. Less worry and frustration results in less agitation and more opportunities to feel productive and empowered. In addition, family members have peace of mind knowing their loved one not only is safe, but being cared for in a setting that offers important health benefits. Once again, the family can go back to being a son, daughter, husband or wife again.
Family caregivers benefit as well. Knowing a loved one is receiving quality, compassionate care in a secure setting offers great peace of mind for caregivers who already may be juggling the needs of work, children, and a spouse. Family caregivers can once again be a daughter or son, confident that their loved one is benefiting from 24-hour care and specialized programming.
In our Memory Support, we strive to give your loved one purpose each and every day. We nurture the individuality, knowledge and skills that remain to help your loved one experience meaning and joy. We’d love for you to schedule a tour so we can tell you more. And download our free guide: Should You Stay Or Should You Go: How to Decide Between Home and Senior Living. We are here to help you.