If you are a child or a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, there are many factors that need to be taken into account when selecting a suitable living arrangement for your loved one. Assisted living communities offer many benefits to elderly persons and their loved ones, including a high level of support in daily activities, increased security, and greater peace of mind.
However, for seniors that are struggling with Alzheimer's or dementia, memory care communities offer further advantages over other retirement communities. The following information discusses some of these benefits.
Specialized Community Design
Many memory care facilities are specifically designed to help improve the quality of living for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. For instance, many units contain circular hallways, thus reducing the likelihood that a "wandering" patient will reach a dead end, and become anxious or stressed.
Facilities may contain an enclosed courtyard or other outside area that allows residents to enjoy the outdoors without the possibility of wandering off-campus. There may also be a TV room or a gathering area where residents can mingle and relax, and an abundance of natural light to mitigate feelings of worry or depression. Memory care communities that contain such specialized features are well-suited to the unique needs of Alzheimer's and dementia patients.
Staff and security officers at memory care communities typically conduct security checks at a more frequent rate than other facilities. This allows them to quickly identify any problem without the passing of much time. Some communities also utilize tracking bracelets to keep tabs on each resident at all times.
Additionally, potential health hazards such as shampoo, mouthwash that contains alcohol, knives, kitchen utensils, and other items are locked up and put out of reach, so that residents don't inadvertently harm themselves. The enhanced security measures that memory care communities provide help to ensure peace of mind for family members that cannot be with their loved one 24/7.
Specially Trained Staff
Assisted living staff members are highly trained to help residents with day to day activities, such as bathing, changing clothes, and so forth. However, memory care staff members are not only trained to assist with such necessary functions, but are also specially trained to deal with residents that are suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia.
For instance, staff members understand how the disease may manifest, why residents may speak or act as they do, and how they can effectively communicate with Alzheimer's/dementia patients and respond to their needs. Such specialized training is a huge plus for the overall well-being of the residents in a memory care community.
Higher Staff-to-Patient Ratio
As of this writing, there is no nationally mandated guideline for an appropriate staff-to-patient ratio within assisted living facilities. However, memory care communities generally do require a higher staff-to-patient ratio than other retirement communities, in order to effectively meet the needs of the residents therein. A typical memory care community ratio would be 1 staff member to 5 or 6 residents.
Additionally, memory care units are typically smaller in size than assisted living communities, which can contain resident populations ranging from a few dozen to a hundred or more. This usually means that not only is it easier for staff to establish a structured routine for your loved one, but he or she can also live in a more relaxed environment.
If you would like to learn more about the advantages that a reputable memory care community can offer to you and your loved one, reach out to us at Jacaranda Trace for further information. Our caring experts in Assisted Living and Memory Care will be happy to answer all of your questions.