Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author, Published on 4/22/2018, www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive
Tags: Assisted Living, Baby Boomers, Golden Years, Health Care Facilities, Long Term Care, Quality of Life, Senior Health Care
Source: New facilities specializing in memory care are being designed to handle some of the most complicated mental health senior care concerns. These new designs focus their efforts on therapeutic modalities and facilities that aim at assisting senior residents cope with Alzheimer’s and dementia, loss of memory from an accident or injury, and other concerns that effect one’s mental well-being in their senior years.
Memory care facilities are assisted living facilities specially designed to care for individuals that have degrading mental awareness. Two of the most common memory loss diagnoses are Alzheimer’s and dementia. Alzheimer’s is a chronic disease where an individual’s mind will begin to lose short term memory of recent events, people’s names and dates. As the disease progresses, the individual will begin to have changes in behavior and mood, problems with language and disorientation, loss of motivation, and other slowing patterns.
In many cases, the individual is initially aware of their condition, and out of frustration, will slowly alienate family and care givers. Even care givers find it difficult to administer care to a person with Alzheimer’s, due to the continued behavioral changes and out lashes that the patient displays. Once Alzheimer’s is in its final phases, the body begins to shut down and fails to function as it should, leading to the individual passing. Care for an individual with Alzheimer’s takes a special provider that has plenty of patience as well as the ability to not be easily offended.
Senior elder persons with dementia suffer from and experience many of the same symptoms as folks with Alzheimer’s do. However, there are a few major differences between the two diseases. Dementia is considered a neurocognitive disorder that speeds up the aging process and affects the body more so than other mental disorders and illnesses. People with dementia are usually either chemically or physically restricted so they are not a danger to themselves or others around them. Human rights groups advocate that individuals with dementia should not be restrained, stating they need additional specialized care, including the use of alternative modalities and therapies, as well as individual in activities that are constructive, giving the person a sense of daily purpose.
Memory care services also provide on campus services in conjunction with rehabilitation centers for head injuries where blunt trauma has caused a person to lose their short-term memory. This care focuses on helping the patient restore their short-term memory along with the individual’s physical health.
Memory care facilities offer around the clock supervised care. The floor plans of these facilities are designed to cater to someone with a memory care concern. They include easy to find central service areas such as a dining hall and activity centers. There are additional security measures at a memory care unit so patients cannot just wander off on their own outside the center’s grounds and limits the risk the patient may be to themselves or others. A memory care facility will usually have additional therapy rooms and places on campus designed to be therapeutic. They may even have a central court yard so residents can spend time outside without leaving the environment and security of the memory care unit.
Assisted living centers that include memory care are changing the model for senior health care in the industry. Memory care units that are added to either a traditional assisted living center or are integrated into the design of a new assisted living facility provide an advantage for senior health care facilities. These duel service centers help families with the continuity of care. If a loved one needs additional care services for memory care, the patient is transferred just down the hall or to a neighboring building. Knowing the same staff will be continuing to serve their loved one’s needs without having to move them to an entirely different facility provides tremendous reassurance during a vulnerable time. A family can count on maintaining the same relationship with the same senior health care provider; eliminating the doubt one would have about having to deal with a new staff or administrator.
Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.