memory care for seniors

Memory Care for Seniors: What Is It and Do You Need It?

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The Benefits of Memory Care for Seniors & Making the Right Choice

People are living longer, and while this is good news, the sad fact is that the older we get, the more likely our faculties are to decline, possibly requiring that we receive some kind of specialized and ongoing care as seniors. The fact is, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of adults over 65 will need some kind of long-term care at some point in their golden years.

The type of care we hear about most commonly is assisted-living. But there is another, specialized type of assisted-living care that may be of interest to a certain segment of the population, called memory care. Read on to learn more about this special type of senior living situation, and discover if memory care is the right fit for you or your senior loved one.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care is a specific type of assisted living situation designed to cater directly to those people suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, which are diseases that affect the brain and the memory. Seniors who are receiving memory care join “Memory Care Units,” sometimes also called Special Care Units or Alzheimer’s Care Units, where they can receive the special attention they need.

How Is Assisted Living Different From Memory Care?

Often, memory care implies a higher standard of care than the typical assisted living arrangement. People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may be able to function effectively in a typical assisted living environment. These are people who can still function independently in many ways, but may need a little help with some day-to-day activities or tending to their medical needs.

A standard assisted living scenario may find an individual living by themselves in a private studio or apartment, or with a roommate, with staff available around the clock for assistance and emergencies.

A memory care unit, however, is more appropriate for an Alzheimer’s patient whose disease or condition is a little bit more advanced. These units may also be private or shared, and often are part of a separate wing in an assisted living facility. Residents of these units have 24-hour care and supervision by a staff of more highly-skilled and trained professionals with specific knowledge of the needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

These memory care units often also have exercises and activities designed specifically to stimulate the memory and to slow the progression of the disease, such as music and games.

What Are Some Specific Differences Between Assisted Living Units and Memory Care Units?

If you are moving a loved one from a traditional assisted living unit to a memory care situation, there are some likely differences for you to be prepared for. For one, memory care units are often more secure. It is much easier for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia to wander off and get lost, so more precautions are put into place to prevent this from taking place.

The way eating is handled in memory care units is also often a little bit different. Food preparation takes place in a group setting, because there are no kitchens in individual apartment units as this could increase stress as well as lead to kitchen-related accidents.

You will often find fish tanks in the dining room as swimming fish are thought to stimulate the appetite, which is often a problem in Alzheimer’s sufferers. Other unique food experiences, such as creating contrast between food color and plate color, are common in these units for this reason.

In general, you should expect greater safety measures, accommodations for issues such as confusion, anxiety, and appetite loss, and more highly trained and involved staff in a memory care unit than you might find in standard assisted living.

Do You Know Someone in Need of Memory Care? Golden Placements Can Help!

If you are thinking about memory care in the Portland or Northern California areas, Golden Placements can help. We specialize in finding exactly the right living facility for seniors at no cost to you.

We have a network of care facilities that we know can provide a high level of the kind of care that seniors may need and can match up your loved one with a great retirement community, assisted living facility or memory care unit depending upon their needs.

If you want to unburden yourself of the stress of finding the perfect place to care for your senior loved one who needs memory care or other living assistance, contact Golden Placements today.


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