The things that keep us happy, healthy and vibrant throughout our lives don’t change as we age, although how we experience them may.
Regardless of the candles on the birthday cake, we know that personal connections, exercise and nutrition are all vital to our well-being. So too are life-long learning, artistic explorations and spirituality, in whatever ways make sense for us as individuals.
So, while we might train for a 10K in our younger years, an older adult might prefer tai chi or strength training, for example. Or, rather than hearty three meals each day, perhaps a menu of smaller meals and snacks better satisfies a reduced appetite, while providing the vital nutritional components of good health.
It was with these core elements in mind that Prestige Care created the Expressions Wellness Program, specifically designed for those in memory care, explains Patty Cordell, RN, Operations Specialist, Prestige Senior Living.
“Specialized memory care for those with memory loss provides a safe environment designed to keep residents engaged,” Cordell explains. “Every type of activity we do through memory care is designed for shorter attention spans and residents’ special needs.
“Knowing how to care for someone with memory loss takes special skills, and it can be very challenging for family members to care for someone in a home environment.”
Challenges like nighttime wandering and 24-hour care can be exhausting, and end up putting caregivers’ own health at risk, or straining relationships between caregivers and loved ones.
“A lot of times, we as children make promises to our parents that we’re going to take care of them,” Cordell reflects, “but sometimes that’s not the best for them, even if we made that promise.”
Once someone experiencing memory loss is comfortable in their new home, with others experiencing similar symptoms and cared for by staff with specialized training and skills, it’s often like a weight lifts from their shoulders. “They feel so much more accepted.”
While each Expressions resident has their own private space, the common areas are often the most popular areas of the residence. Compared to independent or assisted living residences,”in a memory care setting, it’s a much more social environment. And because residents are in their ‘comfort zone,’ you’ll see a lot of family members spending time here, too, during regular visits and special events like our fall harvest dinner.”
When is the right time to consider memory care?
When safety at home is a concern, whether due to wandering, or because of stairs or the risk presented by the stove, for example, memory care can help provide a safe environment, purposefully designed for those with memory loss.
Care might also be considered when a caregiver is experiencing negative impacts on their own health and wellness.
Finally, don’t let the decision come down to a crisis situation, Cordell says. “You never want to make a decision at a time of crisis.”