Is Memory Care the Same as Dementia Care and Alzheimer's Care?
Learn about Memory Care services, activities, and amenities for seniors, how Dementia care and Alzheimer's care are similar and different, plus, the benefits of both care types.
A Memory Care Community provides tailored long-term care to those living with Alzheimer's disease or another form of progressive-degenerative dementia. These communities have specially designed services, amenities, activities, and safe environments for their residents to live comfortably, fulfilling lives.
Medical and personal care differs by care type depending on the resident's specific mental and physical needs. If your loved one lives with Alzheimer's disease or another form of progressive-degenerative dementia, you'll want to learn more about the different types of care available and how they can benefit them.
What is Memory Care for Dementia Residents?
Understanding what dementia and Alzheimer's disease are, how they are different, and their symptoms are necessary for proper treatment and management. Dementia is not a disease but a term or an overarching, broad name that includes all the signs of damage to the brain caused by different conditions, such as Alzheimer's. Dementia alters cognitive abilities, such as memory loss, a decline in thinking skills, etc. Dementia can also affect communication, behavior, and feelings or mood.
Symptoms for people living with dementia will range and become more severe in later stages. People with dementia may experience the following types of symptoms:
- Cognitive or communication symptoms: Short-term memory loss, disorientation, inability to plan meals, manage medications, speak complete sentences, and more.
- Behavior symptoms: Personality changes, restlessness, wandering, and more.
- Feeling or mood symptoms: Irritability, anxiety, frequent mood changes, and more.
Fortunately, Memory Care Communities can assist people with early-stage, mid-stage, or late-stage dementia. In this type of long-term care, people experiencing dementia will receive individually tailored support and care plans. Learn more about dementia and challenges that you may expect to face.
What is Alzheimer's Care?
Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that deteriorates memory and mental functions. This disease and brain disorder generally show symptoms in people in their 60s or older. Early-onset symptoms can happen before then but are rare. Memory problems will usually be the first sign of Alzheimer's. At the same time, other early-onset symptoms may be difficulty thinking or finding the right words, vision and spatial awareness issues, and impaired reasoning or common sense.
The timing and severity may be different for each individual and diagnosing the stage of your loved one can be complicated as stages may also overlap. Below is a helpful guideline for the stages of Alzheimer's, according to Penn Medicine's published article "The 7 Stages of Alzheimer's Disease":
- Stage 1: Before Symptoms Appear – Alzheimer's starts before symptoms appear or are noticeable.
- Stage 2: Basic Forgetfulness – Early-stage memory lapses, such as losing keys, frequently forgetting people's names, and more.
- Stage 3: Noticeable Memory Difficulties – Generally, it can be diagnosed at this stage, as symptoms will have worsened, including experiencing challenges at work or socially.
- Stage 4: More Than Memory Loss – Major difficulties with memory with increased risk of wandering, restless nights, daily confusion, and more.
- Stage 5: Decreased Independence – When your loved one struggles with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, eating, using the restroom, or moving around.
- Stage 6: Severe Symptoms – During this stage, communicating with your loved one may be difficult, and you may notice symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia.
- Stage 7: Lack of Physical Control – At this point, your loved one will need around-the-clock care for ADLs and should be treated by a team of professionals.
When caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, you will have many responsibilities; below are some ways to support and care for your loved one:
- You will want to keep track of their symptoms and potential stages.
- Create a routine (i.e., wakeup times, mealtime, bedtime, etc.)
- Plan activities according to their abilities.
- Encourage engagement and make them feel happy and comfortable.
- Keep them safe.
- Keep to a healthy diet and more.
What is Included in Memory Care?
When caring for a loved one who experiences Alzheimer's becomes extremely hard, allowing Memory Care professional to support you and your loved one will benefit everyone involved. While at a Memory Care Community your loved one will have specially trained professionals surrounding them to deal with the unique and varied issues that will surface with Alzheimer's or dementia.
Additionally, Memory Care provides many of the following services and amenities:
- Increased staff to resident ratio.
- Semi-private or private accommodations.
- Housekeeping and personal laundry services.
- In-house medical alert systems.
- Daily social and recreational activities tailored to Memory Care residents' unique needs.
- Daily meals and snacks.
- Assistance with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, eating, moving about, and using the restroom.
- Increased security and anti-wandering systems.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Memory Care and how to pay for it, read our next article, "Do Memory Care Communities Accept Medicaid or Medicare?"
Find a Memory Care Community Near You
Memory Care Communities provide many opportunities for support. If your loved one needs increased care, the best option for support will be a Memory Care Community. Let Referah's experts help you find the right services to meet your loved one's needs, including compassionate around-the-clock care. Search for a local Memory Care Community near you.