This rise of assisted living facilities is at the forefront of long-term senior care when it comes to American health. Not far behind, however, is memory care, although the two don’t go hand-in-hand.
What is memory care? It’s a specific type of long-term nursing care that caters to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of memory issues.
Memory care units – also known as Special Care Units – typically provide 24-hour supervised care within a specific floor or wing of a residential facility.
As with assisted living, in which your loved one is physically impaired to the point that he or she can no longer perform all the necessary function of everyday life, memory care offers a residential solution with trained caregivers who specialize in assisting people with dementia or impaired cognition.
While Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are separate issues – Alzheimer’s is actually a specific form of dementia – the level of care increases as both progress. Eventually, the patient will require 24-hour supervised care.
Moreover, healing a mind with Alzheimer’s or dementia isn’t possible, meaning loved ones must learn to adapt to a condition which gets progressively worse.
But memory care units provide a specific living environment for patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and provide secured areas to prevent wandering. Residents typically need help with medications, bathing, grooming, dressing, eating and other daily tasks, as well.
Here are some of the services offered in a memory care unit:
*Private, or semi-private rooms
*Housekeeping and laundry
*Exercise and physical therapy
*Social programs and activities
*24-hour staffing and personal assistance.
Data that defines the demographics of memory care communities in the American health landscape isn’t a readily available as it is for assisted living facilities and nursing homes, according to www.seniorhomes.com. But in 2014, the Alzheimer’s Association reported than an estimated 5.2 million Americans suffered from the disease. And the vast majority of them were 65 or older.
Statistics also showed that women sufferers of the disease far out-numbered men.
The importance of specialized memory care, due to its unique issues and demands, can’t be stressed enough. And in the broader scheme of American health, it’s an issue that continues to drive an increasing need.