Posted On 27 August 2015 by: DB Admin
Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory care are often provided in a secure assisted living or nursing home setting, usually in a separate floor or wing. Residents may live in semi-private apartments or private rooms and have structured activities delivered by staff members trained specifically on caring for those with memory impairment.
How much does memory care cost?
What services are offered in memory care facilities?
MEMORY CARE: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S
Alzheimer’s disease is a specific form of dementia. As Alzheimer’s disease or dementia progresses, the level of care and assistance a person requires increases. While many families prefer to keep their loved one home for as long as possible, a person who suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s will eventually require 24-hour supervised care in catered settings.
For example, Alzheimer’s living environments have secured areas to prevent wandering; a common symptom of the disease. And typically, residents in memory care need help with medications, bathing, grooming eating dressing and other daily tasks. Memory care provides intensive, long-term medical care to seniors with serious health and dementia conditions in a fully-staffed and monitored facility.
COST OF MEMORY CARE
Memory care requires a larger staff to resident ratio and additional training to ensure the safety of all the residents, therefore the cost is usually higher than other communities. Costs may vary, depending on the following factors:
~ Level of care needed
~ Size of room
~ Whether a room is private or semi-private
~ Geographical location of the community
According to Genworth.com, in 2012, the U.S. national average cost of memory care for a single resident was almost $5,000 a month. This cost does vary widely by care facility, however. For example, some communities were as low as $1,500 per month and other communities as high as $7,000 per month.
SERVICES OFFERED IN MEMORY CARE
Memory care offers 24-hour supervised care with meals, activities and health management for residents.
Here are some of the basic services offered in memory care:
~ Comfortable private, or semi-private, rooms
~ Daily meals
~ Housekeeping and laundry service
~ Medication management
~ Exercise and physical therapy programs
~ Social programs and activities
~ 24-hour staffing and personal assistance
If you or a loved one is dealing with a dementia diagnosis, you’re far from alone. The latest estimates from the Alzheimer’s Association indicate that nearly 5 million Americans are currently living with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and Alzheimer’s patients account for only 60-80% of total dementia patients. With so many people affected, Alzheimer’s prevention has become a national priority, as demonstrated by initiatives such as the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which Congress passed unanimously in 2010. Among other things, this act requires a national plan for overcoming Alzheimer’s to be updated annually. Yet even as the search for a cure gains momentum, it’s widely acknowledged that early diagnosis and proper care can greatly affect the general health and happiness of those who already have the disease. Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed or have a loved one in the mid-to-late stages of dementia, this guide is intended to help you and your family enjoy your lives to the fullest, while getting the best possible care.
THE EARLY STAGES
“ You have to shift the paradigm of defeat by ‘flipping the pain.’ Alzheimer’s disease is going to win. It will take my husband, but it will not take me. I’m going to fight for the next generation. ” – Meryl Comer
10 ALZHEIMER’S WARNING SIGNS:
When it comes to identifying early symptoms of dementia, there’s often no clear-cut line between the typical memory changes associated with aging and warning signs that something more serious may be developing. To help differentiate between normal and potentially problematic memory function, the Alzheimer’s Association developed the following checklist:
1. Short Term Memory Loss
Forgetting new information is one of the most common early signs of dementia. Forgetting important events
and asking for the same information over and over are also common symptoms of early stage Alzheimer’s
disease. What’s typical? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally and remembering them later.
2. Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks
People with dementia often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the
steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game. What’s typical? Occasionally
forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.
3. New Problems with Writing or Speaking
People with Alzheimer’s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or
writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find the word “toothbrush,” for example, and instead ask
for “that thing for my mouth.” What’s typical? Occasionally having trouble finding the right word.
4. Confusion with Time and Place
People with Alzheimer’s can become lost in their own neighborhood, forget where they are and how they got
there, and not know how to get back home. What’s typical? Momentarily forgetting the day of the week or
where you were going.
5. Poor or Decreased Judgment
Those with Alzheimer’s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing
in the cold. They may show poor judgment, like giving away large sums of money to telemarketers. What’s
typical? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.
6. Problems with Abstract Thinking
Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like
forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used. What’s typical? Finding it challenging to
balance a checkbook.
7. Misplacing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps
A person with Alzheimer’s may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar
bowl. What’s typical? Misplacing keys or a wallet, but being able to retrace steps to find it later.
8. Changes in Mood or Behavior
Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings – from calm, to tears, to anger and
aggression – for no apparent reason. They may become extremely confused, anxious, suspicious or dependent
on a family member. What’s typical? Occasionally feeling sad or moody.
9. Trouble Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships
For some people, a change in visual processing may be a sign of early Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty
reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving. What’s
typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.
10. Withdrawing from Social Activities
A person with early stage Alzheimer’s disease may avoid being social because of the changes they’ve
experienced. They may remove themselves from sports, social events and hobbies. They may become passive,
sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleep more than usual or not want to perform daily living activities. What’s
typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations.
In addition to these signs, keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to check with a doctor if a person’s level of
function seems to be changing rapidly. The earlier you recognize that dementia is developing, the sooner you can
mitigate its effects.
THE STAGES OF DEMENTIA
How does dementia progress? At what stage will you likely start to notice warning signs? Because dementia involves
physical changes in the brain, it generally begins long before there are noticeable symptoms. Most clinical providers
describe dementia using the seven-stage Reisberg Scale developed by New York University physician and noted expert
on aging, Dr. Barry Reisberg. Here are the stages:
STAGE 1: No Cognitive Impairment
Though it may seem odd, the lowest dementia stage on the scale is normal mental functioning, or no cognitive impairment. There are no signs or symptoms of dementia, memory loss, behavioral problems or other changes associated with the onset of dementia.
STAGE 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline
Where the heck did I put my keys? What was that person’s name? According to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research, at least half of the over-65 population reports some minor age-related forgetfulness. Caregivers or medical providers may not even notice such mild impairment, and it is not considered to be actual dementia, though it is part of the scale of dementia stages and may precede more noticeable cognitive decline.
STAGE 3: Mild Cognitive Decline
When memory and cognitive problems become more regular, as well as noticeable to caregivers and loved ones, a person is said to be suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Since mild cognitive decline can herald more severe stages of dementia in the future, it is important to recognize the signs of this stage in order to alleviate stress in the patient, as well as initiate a medical course of action in the event that the dementia is treatable. Though MCI does not generally have a major impact on day-to-day functioning, some common signs include:
· Impaired work performance
· Memory loss and forgetfulness
· Verbal repetition
· Impaired organization and concentration
· Trouble with complex tasks and problem solving
· Difficulties with driving
STAGE 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline
At this point, a person has clearly visible signs of mental impairment that point to early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to worsening of the symptoms discussed above, caregivers should stay alert for signs of:
· Social withdrawal
· Emotional moodiness
· Lack of responsiveness
· Reduced intellectual acuity
· Trouble with routine tasks
· Denial of symptoms
STAGE 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
This stage marks the onset of what many professionals refer to as mid-stage dementia. At this point, a person may no longer be able to carry out normal day-to-day activities, such as dressing or bathing, without some caregiver assistance. Other symptoms that manifest during this stage include:
· Pronounced memory loss, including memory of personal details and current events
· Confusion and forgetfulness
· Further reduced mental acuity and problem solving ability
STAGE 6: Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 6 is characterized by a need for a caregiver help to perform even basic daily activities, such as dressing, eating, using the toilet and other self-care. Further symptoms may include sleep difficulties, incontinence, personality changes including paranoia or delusions, anxiety, pronounced memory loss and inability to recognize loved ones.
STAGE 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline
In severe Alzheimer’s disease or late-stage dementia, people are essentially unable to care for themselves, and suffer from both communication and motor impairment. They may lose the ability to speak, walk or smile without help.
COMMUNICATION TIPS AND COPING STRATEGIES
“ Though those with Alzheimer’s might forget us, we as a society must remember them.” – Scott Kirkschenbaum, Filmmaker