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Alzheimer’s and assisted living

Posted October 01, 2014 in Advice Column, Clear Lake

With the month of September hosting “Walk to End Alzheimer” in the Des Moines area, I believe it is important that anyone looking for care for their loved one understands there are specific assisted living program out there that specialize in memory care and what those programs can provide.

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific form of dementia. As Alzheimer’s disease or dementia progresses, the level of care and assistance a person requires could increase enough they need assisted living care. Memory care environments are designed to specifically cater to individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. For example, Alzheimer’s assisted living environments have secured areas to prevent wandering, a common symptom of the disease. These environments offer an on-site staff 24/7 that is specially trained to provide assistance to individuals with dementia. Often, there is also a higher staffing ratio in the memory care setting. This allows the caregivers to provide extra assistance and allows them to truly get to know each resident as an individual.

These assisted living programs also offer a structured activity program designed to address the needs of each resident since they can vary depending on the level of memory loss of that individual. Memory care activity programs provide a variety of options to meet the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of the residents. The activity program in a memory care setting is essential to the overall well-being of the resident, and provides opportunities to succeed in day-to-day interactions. A great focus of a memory care activity program is spontaneous activities. These are activities that happen in the moment, and the staff is trained to engage residents in their moment. This could be anything from reminiscing about a great family vacation singing a favorite song, or telling a story about them as a child.

Memory care specific programs are wonderful options for seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. They are designed to be safe and engaging environments. They oftentimes offer a specialized dining experience. They work to blend quality care, independence and a focus on the individual resident. The primary goals of these programs are allowing residents to enjoy an independent lifestyle with dignity and understanding while also providing a safe environment to enjoy their later years.

Information provided by Megan McConnell, assistant manager, community relations coordinator,Country Meadow Place, 17396 Kingbird Ave., Mason City, 641-423-7722.

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