Dementia describes a group of symptoms that interfere with activities of daily living (ADLs) due to changes in the brain. It affects over 5 million people in the U.S.--a number that is expected to double by 2030. The areas of the brain that are most commonly affected by dementia are memory and language skills, and it can also affect judgment and behavior. Dementia is an umbrella term that includes several types of memory loss including Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is chronic and progressive; the stages and symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.
Dementia can affect almost every aspect of daily living. Its impact on both those who are diagnosed with it as well as their family members is enormous. Adapting to the changes and challenges that accompany dementia requires a unique support network. As needs for support increase, dementia care services can make all the difference.
Dementia care facilities can offer trained and experienced staff to provide expert care for people with dementia while helping them remain as healthy and independent as possible.
Here are some suggestions to help you find the best dementia care for your loved one:
First, research the options for dementia care in your area. Use the internet: you can find various options for dementia care, memory care or Alzheimer’s care in any given location. Review their philosophy of care and scope of services, look at reviews and comparisons as well as personal recommendations of different care providers.
Second, look closely at the quality of care provided. Are staffing ratios rich enough to respond to the needs of clients? Are staff attentive to the interests and needs of the person with dementia through all its stages? Are they friendly and eager to help? Are they respectful and professional in their interactions? Are there planned activities to provide social interaction and physical activity for all levels of needs?
Third, look for safety features in the memory care facility that will ensure the care and well-being of the person with dementia. Is the facility wheel-chair accessible? Are stairways and exterior doors secured? Are bathroom facilities easy to locate, clean and appropriately equipped? Are call buttons or medical alert buttons easily accessible? Are there safety features on beds as needed, such as side rails?
Finally, ensure that the staff are trained in caring for people with dementia. Are they more people-oriented than task-oriented? Do they address the social, emotional and spiritual needs of their clients, or do they focus only on physical needs? How do they address challenging behaviors? Do they look for unmet needs that might be triggering those behaviors?
There are many things to consider as you look for dementia care services. By beginning to consider options early, you will feel better prepared when it is time for a transition to increased care.
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