It’s not unusual to feel unsure about seeing someone in a memory care home. You may not know what to talk about or how to approach your loved one, especially if you don’t want to upset them. Here are some tips that will help you make the most out of each visit.
Eating a healthy diet can lower your risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments. At Kemper House Worthington, creating healthy and tasty meals that support our residents’ brainpower is one of our top priorities.
The pandemic has been a hard time for all of our families. Residents, their loved ones, and our staff have all felt the stress and difficulties that COVID-19 has meant for our community. But we are hopefully nearing an end and the use of the latest vaccines is helping get our world back to some semblance of normal. That means, one day soon, we will be able to have our normal visitation process back. But to get there, we want everyone to know how important getting the vaccine is to this plan.
There are lots to consider when you’re preparing to transition a loved one to a dementia care facility. The team at Kemper House Worthington wants to provide tips for each part of the process to ease the process.
His name is Buddy the Brain, and he’s here to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive conditions.
The earlier you receive a dementia diagnosis, the better. Being proactive about your neurological health will give you peace of mind and time to create a care plan.
Understanding the Importance of Early Diagnosis of Dementia
The thought of living with dementia can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for many aging adults. Family members and loved ones may experience similar emotions at the thought of seeing someone they care deeply for struggle with their cognitive health. Thankfully, with a proactive approach, early diagnosis of dementia can be possible.
When diagnosed early, healthcare professionals can assist you in creating an effective care plan to help preserve cognitive health for longer than without proper treatment. Today, we’re going to cover the importance of early diagnosis of dementia, signs to look out for, and diagnosis.
Why Early Diagnosis is Important
As with any long-term or chronic condition, the sooner you identify it, the faster it can be treated. Intervening in the early stages can play a significant role in prolonging one’s quality of life. It can also help mentally and emotionally prepare an individual and their loved ones for the later stages where symptoms might worsen.
When you receive an early diagnosis for dementia, you can take preventative measures to slow the progression or seek treatment options for cognitive impairment. You can access a network of resources like healthcare professionals and a wealth of information, treatment options, and support.
For many, a diagnosis can also provide a sense of relief. You finally have an answer for the symptoms you are experiencing and can start receiving the necessary treatment to prolong your cognitive and neurological health.
Early Signs of Dementia
Common early symptoms of dementia include:
Changes in Short-Term Memory
Can you recall an event that happened over a decade ago but struggle to remember what you did earlier today? This can be a sign of a change in short-term memory function. One of the most telling early symptoms of dementia.
Difficulties with Communication
Dementia affects a person’s ability to communicate quickly and efficiently. You may find that your conversations take longer because you cannot find the right words or struggle to express yourself correctly. Reading and writing might also become more difficult tasks as a result.
Differences in Mood or Personality
Many individuals who struggle with early dementia can experience depression. You may experience a lack of interest in your favorite hobbies or activities. Social withdrawal can also be common.
As a result of experiencing a decline in short-term memory function, a person with early dementia might forget what they had just said or done. This can result in behaviors like repeating daily tasks frequently or saying the same statement or question several times.
Increase Resistance to Change
The confusion caused by dementia can create a fear of change. You find yourself seeking routine, and deviations can result in stress or anxiety.
Other Signs to Look Out For
These signs and symptoms may not present themselves until reaching later stages of dementia. However, it is important to still be mindful of them. According to the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, here are some other signs you might want to look out for:
- Wandering or losing your sense of direction in a familiar setting
- Difficulty managing spending and other financial responsibilities
- Associating unusual words with familiar items
- Impulsive behavior not typical of your usual conduct
- A disregard for the feelings of other people
- Losing balance or experiencing difficulty moving
- Hallucinations, delusions, or experiencing feelings of paranoia
Seeking a Formal Diagnosis for Dementia
If you’ve experienced two or more of these symptoms, it’s time to talk to your doctor. They can refer you to a neurologist who can help determine the cause of your cognitive loss.
While cognitive loss can be caused by aging, dementia-related diseases, it can also be caused by other health issues, like diet and lifestyle habits. Your diagnosis may include memory tests, brain imaging scans, neurological exams, and blood work.
Receiving a diagnosis allows you to ask questions and create a system that will help you cope with cognitive decline or dementia. That may include medication, therapy, support services, and cognitive training. You can also begin the process of finding an Alzheimer’s and dementia care facility that will continue your treatment.
Learn More About Memory Care Options in Columbus, OH
At Kemper House Worthington, we strive to provide the highest-quality and most compassionate memory care possible to our neighbors in the Columbus, Ohio area. If you are interested in learning more about transitioning to a memory care home, contact us anytime to learn more.
Every element of a great memory care home is customized to provide optimal comfort for each resident. The staff members employ specialized care and activity programs to create a supportive environment for people living with dementia.
With the right support system behind them, people who are experiencing dementia can still live happy and fulfilling lives with a considerable amount of autonomy. For many individuals and their loved ones, the first step is to find a new home that can provide that necessary support.
Are you considering memory care home for yourself or your loved one? As you do your research online, the vast amount of options can seem overwhelming. How do you know which is the right community?
Today, we’re going to look at some key traits of an excellent memory care community. As you are considering your options, keep these important points in mind to ensure you come to the best conclusion for your specific needs.
People who live with dementia thrive when receiving attentive care from a compassionate and capable team. Finding the right staff at a memory care home can make an enormous, positive impact on your loved one’s wellbeing.
At a well-managed memory care facility, nurses and support staff have specialized training to assist residents living with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias. Memory care staff consistently work with the same residents to create personal connections that improve residents’ quality of life.
Quality memory care facilities have dedicated teams who treat each resident like family. They provide attention to details that are unique to your loved ones and work to maintain open communication about their needs and well-being.
If you are considering one or a few memory care homes in your area, there is an easy way to gain some insight into what that location expects from its staff. Look at the careers page on their website. Listings available on these pages will give you an idea of what that facility expects from its staff, from credentials to standards of conduct.
The facility layout accommodates residents with varying physical capabilities. Wide walkways offer plenty of room for residents to move with ease. Wandering is a part of dementia, so thoughtful communities have smaller neighborhoods with central, private courtyards.
The circular floor plan allows residents to wander without getting frustrated by dead-end corridors. They will always end up back at the hub of activity. Other smart elements in purposefully built dementia communities include:
- Dining rooms with group and private seating options
- Family rooms
- Activity spaces
- Easy-to-find wellness stations
The paint on the walls, flooring, furniture, and lighting are also customized to accommodate memory care residents as they transition into a new facility.
While photos online can tell part of the story, physically touring a memory care home is extremely important as well. Here, you can get a real feel for the environment that your loved one would be living in. This can help better inform your decision whether or not to pursue that facility or continue exploring other options in your area.
A Sense of Security
Because dementia can affect a person’s awareness, some who live with the condition may tend to wander. This can create a safety risk for them if they are disoriented and cannot recall where they are. To help protect against this, a qualified memory care facility should have a number of wander management systems in place to proactively manage risks and aid your loved one in navigating their new home.
Wander management systems help keep memory care residents safe and comfortable and include features like:
- Secure, interconnected corridors
- Security alarms on external doors
- Wearable locating devices with geofencing and tracking capabilities
- Grab bars and in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways to reduce the risk of falls or injuries
When a facility implements an effective wander management system, the staff can find and assist your loved one quickly and efficiently. This can help mitigate many of the safety risks that can occur during a period of wandering.
No detail is too small when it comes to memory care. Residents need structure to help them feel at ease while they make the switch to long-term care. A good facility infuses love into their culture and care to help residents feel at home.
Individuals with memory loss need an atmosphere with:
- Minimal distractions and noises
- Natural lighting
- Secure indoor and outdoor spaces
For many individuals who transition to a memory care home, this can cause initial anxiety. Will the facility feel like a hospital or like a true home? Will they become isolated? These fears are both understandable and common. However, with the right community, they can be easily pushed aside by providing residents with the simple comforts and cares of home.
Providing a comfortable environment where a person living with dementia can feel safe and cared for is critical to supporting their quality of life. These aesthetic features of the facility bring a true feeling of home to those who can benefit from it most.
When it comes to caring for a person living with dementia, consistency and frequent engagement are critical to ensuring a high quality of life. The brain needs exercise just like any other part of the body.
At a compassionate memory care home, the staff works with your loved one to establish consistent routines to help them feel at home while also providing them access to daily social activities to reduce the effects of isolation. These actions can help your loved one feel included and supported as they transition to a new living environment and adjust to living with the symptoms of dementia.
Memory care provides therapeutic programs for cognitive impairments and behavioral issues. There are also personalized programs that can be customized depending on the stage of memory loss. Family members are welcome to participate in outreach and engagement, which can help comfort loved ones.
Learn More About Memory Care Homes in Ohio
The right Alzheimer’s and dementia care facility will instill a sense of security and comfort in its residents. You’ll have opportunities to ask important questions to determine which facility is right for you or your loved one during your search.
In this series, we will be discussing different aspects of talking about dementia from the first talk you might have with a loved one, to speaking with a doctor, to how to speak with someone who has dementia in a dignified manner.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, and many of you already have experienced as caregivers, one of the best practices for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia is to be kept on a strict routine. This routine helps limit confusion and frustration leading to more good days. But keeping a tight routine isn’t always possible because……life happens. In this blog, we are going to talk about how to plan for a change in routine when you know ahead of time.