As we enter the holiday season, we reflect on the many blessings in our lives, including our professional caregivers who care for our residents in our assisted living communities in Metairie and our family members who support their lov
The holiday season is when many of us pause and reflect on the past year while also considering what the next 12 months might hold. Suppose you’re the family caregiver of a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. In that case, you may have found yourself thinking about what their dementia care plan might look like going forward into the new year.
What Is Residential Assisted Living?
Residential assisted living is a type of live-in senior care in which residents can enjoy an independent lifestyle while also benefitting from activities of daily living (ADL) support. Caregivers are typically on hand 24/7 to help with tasks that can become more troublesome with age, like dressing, tooth brushing, using the bathroom, and taking medications.
But for many seniors, residential assisted living is much more than this; it can also grant seniors the opportunity to rebuild a great social life, get involved in a strong community, and even rekindle long-forgotten hobbies and interests. It’s a common misconception that assisted living is a ‘last resort’ that equates to a loss of autonomy. Moving to a senior care community often allows seniors to live a more prosperous and independent life.
What Is Memory Care?
Memory care is a specialized type of long-term senior care provided for those with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia (e.g., vascular or Lewy body dementia). Dementia care typically includes specially trained caregivers, targeted activities, and additional safety features. Some (but not all) residential assisted living facilities offer this enhanced level of support tailored to residents with dementia.
Why Choose A Residential Assisted Living Community With Dementia Care?
As a family caregiver, you may wonder what 2023 will look like for you and your loved one. Choosing a residential assisted living community specializing in memory care is an excellent option for many seniors with dementia and their families. The progression of dementia is notoriously uncertain, so exploring options sooner rather than later may help you avoid stressful, rushed decisions further down the line.
Activities To Promote Cognitive Wellbeing
Physicians often advise patients with dementia to stay as mentally active as possible, as it’s thought that this may help slow cognitive decline and keep the brain sharp. While many residential assisted living communities do offer a great range of events and activities for residents to get involved in, facilities with a memory care program typically also deliver tailored activities to support brain health.
Activities involving puzzles and brain games may be offered, while hobbies like arts and crafts, jigsaw puzzles, and board games are also encouraged. The tailoring of activities for residents with dementia doesn’t end there, though. Residents can also benefit from social and sensory activities, and many memory care communities offer a set of targeted dementia therapies. For example, reminiscence therapy allows residents to share valuable life experiences, and music therapy can boost mood and quality of life through creativity.
Family caregivers know better than most that caring for a senior with dementia can be different every day. The disease’s progressive nature means an individual’s needs will change over time. For example, in the mid-to-late stages of dementia, seniors may begin to suffer from increased agitation or sundowning syndrome, which can be distressing and difficult for family caregivers to manage.
The wrong approach to agitation may add to a senior’s distress and significantly reduce their quality of life. By choosing a senior living community with memory care, you can rest assured that staff members are experienced in meeting the needs of seniors with dementia. When selecting a senior care community, ask what specialist dementia care training caregivers and other staff members have received.
Enhanced Safety and Security
Safety and security are essential in any eldercare community, but when residents have dementia, these features become even more vital. Assisted living facilities with memory care typically have secured entrances and exits to prevent residents with dementia from wandering off the premises and into danger. Moreover, with the 24/7 support of caregivers, residents are much better protected from financial scams that often prey on vulnerable adults with dementia.
Focus on Nutrition
When a senior has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, eating and drinking can become much more difficult. Some seniors may experience reduced appetite and changes in food preferences or no longer recognize certain foods. Memory loss may also lead to practical challenges like forgetting how to eat or prepare meals.
In an assisted living community that provides dementia care, caregivers are trained to help residents get the most from mealtimes. For example, caregivers may remove distractions in the dining area, use high-contrast dishes and assist with cutlery while encouraging independence. Meals may also be supplemented by nutritionally dense snacks and drinks like milk and rice pudding to support seniors with a reduced appetite.
A Note on the Holidays
The holidays can be challenging for seniors with dementia and their family caregivers. Disrupted routines, large gatherings, and unfamiliar visitors may be unsettling for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Suppose the holidays are becoming increasingly stressful or challenging to navigate. Assisted living facilities that offer memory care have all the expertise to create a dementia-friendly holiday environment, allowing residents to enjoy the festivities their way. Why not start the search for the perfect residential assisted living community in Metairie today and spend next year surrounded by support, understanding, and dementia-friendly festive cheer?
For more information on the tailored memory care services our residential assisted living communities offer, get in touch to arrange a personalized tour today.