Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are devastating conditions that can make navigating life more difficult for both the affected individual and their family. According to a 2020 study from the National Library of Medicine, two out of every three adults will struggle with some level of cognitive decline after the age of 70.¹ Fortunately, there are specialized dementia care services designed to make life with memory loss a little easier.
Understanding Dementia Care Services
Dementia care services are senior care services that work specifically with older adults with some form of cognitive impairment. Whether they have Alzheimer’s disease or another cognitive condition, dementia care strives to support and assist individuals suffering from memory loss.
Highly skilled and trained professionals work in these services, helping seniors with cognitive decline cope with their symptoms. Each individual who has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia has their own unique needs and requires person-centered care. When memory care is tailored to the patient, it can address their specific symptoms and develop strategic plans to tackle each issue.
Dementia care services use a holistic approach that addresses the individual’s physical, emotional, and social well-being. The result is a customized treatment that helps ease the burdens of cognitive decline for both individuals and the people in their lives.
Services and Support Offered
Memory care services offer various treatments and therapeutic approaches that can make life with cognitive decline easier to navigate. This includes assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). These activities include bathing, dressing, toileting, and other aspects of personal hygiene. They also include meal prepping and feeding.
Dementia care professionals provide help with medical needs, including medication management. Monitoring the individual’s cognitive health is another aspect of dementia care. A detailed record of the individual’s progress is kept to see how they improve or decline as their treatment goes on.
Most dementia care is provided within memory care facilities or assisted living homes. These offer a safe, controlled environment that can supervise the individual’s activities day and night. Such supervision is essential because seniors with cognitive decline can wander and put themselves in dangerous situations as their disease worsens.
Memory care facilities also allow seniors with dementia to engage with their peers, caregivers, visitors, and staff members. These facilities often provide activities for individuals with dementia to promote sharpened memory and recall while encouraging continued socialization.
Activities can include reading, arts and crafts, puzzles, and more. This ongoing social engagement helps reduce the severity of cognitive decline and, in some cases, slow its progression.
Communication and Engagement Strategies
Communicating with someone who has dementia can be complicated for people who are not familiar with cognitive decline. As a person progresses in their impairment, they will continue to forget common details and may even become nonverbal. Establishing effective communication is essential to properly care for them and meet their needs.
Creating a familiar routine and supportive environment can ease some symptoms of dementia and make communication easier. Individuals with memory loss struggle greatly with changes to their day-to-day schedule. By adhering to a routine and establishing ongoing patterns, you can learn to predict their needs and provide them with a comfortable environment.
Another way to improve communication is by facilitating ongoing engagement. Continuous visits are essential if your loved one is in an assisted living home. Seeing familiar faces and having regular conversations can help keep communication skills strong.
One of the best communication strategies with dementia patients is to enjoy media together. Playing their favorite songs, movies, or television shows, you can help them retain language patterns and recognize specific faces, names, places, and time periods. You can also strengthen their memory and recall skills by playing word games like crossword puzzles and word searches.
Benefits of Specialized Dementia Care
The importance of specialized dementia care cannot be understated. Professional care is better than in-home care for many seniors because it is more thorough and personalized. This type of care focuses on all of the individual’s daily needs and provides ongoing assistance, keeping them safe and comfortable at all times.
Professional dementia care can improve the overall quality of life for people living with memory loss. The patient gets to experience the benefits of an integrated care approach that considers their daily physical, emotional, and mental needs.
Expert dementia care services also offer phenomenal caregiver support that can alleviate some of the responsibilities of family members. Family caregivers can experience burnout, emotional fatigue, and excessive stress when assisting a loved one with dementia. Professional dementia care offers things like respite care and support groups to cope with these issues.
Care for Seniors With Dementia
Dementia care services are vital to seniors with memory loss or cognitive decline. By providing personalized care that addresses their individual symptoms and concerns, these services can vastly improve quality of life and even support family caregivers. To learn more about dementia care, contact the staff at Encore Communities today.
Dan is Vice President, Marketing of the Alumus family of companies. A Seattle native, he earned his BA in Humanities and Political Science at Evergreen State College. He started his career as a newspaper columnist, eventually transitioning into marketing and tech writing for Microsoft and several other startups. He later launched a successful creative agency focused on branding, digital marketing, and content production in Los Angeles, where he worked for several nursing and behavioral health clients, eventually becoming the National Marketing Director for one of them.
He has taught Vipassana mindfulness meditation and MBSR and spends whatever free time he has with his son snowboarding, hiking, and camping in the mountains.