Does mom need Memory Support or Memory Care? Good Question
I would first like to start with saying that appropriate Memory Support prolongs the need for Memory Care. In a traditional community setting, those with moderate dementia are either not thriving in Assisted Living or have to move to Memory Care too soon. In my opinion providing the right amount of memory support is the toughest area of senior care because it is not strictly defined.
Can Memory Support ever be Strictly Defined?
The answer is No. Providing Memory Support to someone with Alzheimer’s & Dementia is like providing a step stool for someone who needs a boost to see over a ledge. The difference is there are different ledges so different step stools are needed. Providing the right amount of support will enable a person to function as independently as possible. Providing too much support will further disable a person and result in a cognitive decline, and providing too little will hinder a person’s abilities to function and thrive. Cognitive Care is another way to describe Memory Support. Memory Care is a specialized care unit/section/or building where maximum cognitive assistance is provided and independence is limited. Memory Care is also usually a small, secure section, where activities and daily interactions are done in a group setting.
Types of Memory Support
- have duplicates for commonly lost items, and also knowing the hiding places (for this group of folks, the less space they have the better)
- know their schedule and guide the person through the day, personally guide to appointments and events
- anticipate needs and provide assistance without being asked
- explain tasks by breaking them into parts, with easy to understand sentences
- know and understand the daily routine and provide assistance in a way that does not make a person feel that they need assistance
- do not assume a person ate if you did not see them eat.
- while providing additional assistance, make it seem like you are providing a regular service.
- keep an eye on someone from 10-20 feet away so they don’t feel like you are hovering over them, but you are watching for safety.
Jan is 78 and has Alzheimer’s Disease. She missed her last doctor’s appointment, hair appointment, and her favorite church concert. While living at home alone, Jan did not eat for 2-4 days, passed out and found herself in the hospital suffering from malnutrition and hydration. What could have been done to avoid these scenarios?
- Keep track of Jan’s appointments, by helping her make them at a time when transportation is available, if transportation is necessary. Remind Jan earlier that day, make sure she is ready, and personally take her to the appointment.
- Bring Jan to breakfast, make sure she gets it in front of her. After breakfast, tell Jan the next meal is lunch and you will get her for that meal. This will put her at ease.
- Everyday at 2 pm come to Jan with a pretty glass of water, encourage her, and then watch her drink it. Make sure Jan has a beverage in front of her for her meals and that she is drinking. Replace the beverage with an alternative option if needed.
The Take Away……
Many people are not getting the right amount of Memory Support in their current environment. I have found that there is a large percentage of those impaired with Dementia and Alzheimer’s that need more than Assisted Living, but less than Memory Care. These folks need another option. What they need is Memory Support/Cognitive Care in Assisted Living.