Learn More About Memory Care
Memory care is a type of care offered in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) that center on residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and other cognitive impairments. It is estimated that around 10% of adults 65 and older have dementia.
Caring for a loved one facing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease is a daunting task and can have physical and emotional tolls on entire families. Our teams understand the challenges faced by these health care conditions.
Memory care residents are encouraged to participate in their daily routines with the support of our caring staff, to preserve skills like standing and walking, eating and using the bathroom as independently as possible for as long as possible.
Promoting communication and participation in meaningful activities keeps minds and spirits engaged in a positive way. According to Columbia University Irving Medical Center, around 10% of older adults aged 65 and older have dementia, and around 22% of older adults have mild cognitive impairment; these percentages increase as older adults age, with around 35% of older adults aged 90 and older having dementia. In the United States, it is about 16 million people. For people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, independence often decreases as symptoms become more severe.
There are many techniques utilized to support and treat those with memory care issues. The first step is understanding some of the differences and definitions concerning senior memory care.
Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease
There are differences between someone with dementia and those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
What is dementia?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are more than 55 million people around the world are living with dementia. Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease, and don’t have a definitive diagnosis. Dementia affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. It can occur due to a variety of conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s Disease.
People can have more than one type of dementia. This is known as mixed dementia. People with mixed dementia have symptoms of two or more types of dementia.
As dementia progresses, it can have a huge impact on the ability to function independently. It’s a major cause of disability for older adults and places an emotional and financial burden on families and caregivers.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific progressive disease of the brain that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function. The exact cause is unknown, and no cure is available.
In people with Alzheimer’s disease, connections between brain cells may break down. One of the main symptoms is abnormal protein deposits in the brain called plaques and tangles.
Plaques are dense clusters of protein that can block communication between neurons. Tangles are proteins that twist together that lead to the death of healthy brain cells.
To provide the best care options possible, our employees receive training on how to assist and care for individuals with dementia or those who are simply suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Memory Care Activities
While there is no cure for progressing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, there are therapies and treatments that can make their lives as enriching as possible. Activities for residents with memory care challenges can help those residents have some normalcy and have them occupied with meaningful activities. Each resident with memory care challenges will respond to stimuli differently, and our staff are trained on memory and sensory care. Below are a few ways different sensory activities may help a resident with memory care.
Studies have shown that music can aid those with dementia and even Alzheimer’s Disease. Music brings back powerful emotions and memories and can transport residents back to their child or early adulthood. Many skilled nursing facilities incorporate music therapy into their rehabilitation and daily activities.
Assisting residents with dementia with cooking or baking can be a meaningful activity that has a tactile benefit. Plus, there is an added benefit of aromatherapy with the smell of fresh cookies, bread, or other favorites can have a calming effect.
Touch or tactile activities can help a resident with dementia to soothe themselves. Some residents may like rougher surfaces and others make like the feel of a soft blanket. Each person is different, and it may take some experimenting to find each person’s preferences.
Photos albums and memory boards outside or inside a resident’s room are popular and can help spark memories of friends, family, and great memories of the past.
Memory Boards & Games:
Puzzles and games that help with memory can be helpful for residents that may be in the beginning stages of dementia. These are great activities all residents can enjoy and be beneficial for those with the early stages of dementia.
Activities and therapy partner with nursing and families to create individualized plans geared toward maintaining the highest quality of life for the resident.