Seniors today have more choices than ever when it comes to retirement living. And for those experiencing the beginning of memory challenges, and for their families, those options come with an additional set of questions: “What type of care do I actually need?” “How will my needs change as time goes on?” “Which options are the most flexible and will adapt to provide long-term care as my needs change?”
More and more, seniors are choosing community retirement living over in-home care. And memory care needs are unique and not provided for by all home health or senior community options. For memory care patients, dedicated memory care community options can better suit their needs than home care for a variety of reasons.
As seniors’ needs change with age, the homes that they lived in during their middle age may not suit them any longer. Stairs, large floorplans, home maintenance, and lack of transportation can make their old homes unmanageable for daily living.
And for memory care patients, the average home presents safety concerns. Conditions like dementia or other memory concerns may affect a person’s spatial awareness and balance, meaning that everyday home features become much more dangerous. Everyday home design is unsuitable for memory care patients, and features such as throw rugs, kitchen appliances, differences in flooring or elevation, and showers without safety features such as handrails, could cause accidents.
And while it is possible to modify the home to limit these risks, dedicated memory care facilities, such as Ashley Gardens, are designed with these concerns in mind. Seniors’ living spaces are designed with consistent, flat flooring, accessible bathroom safety features, and safety pull cords to keep them safe and comfortable. Residents also wear location-based pendants to provide their loved ones with peace of mind. And the community grounds are also designed to be both safe and secure as well as conducive to residents living a full, engaged life.
While it is possible to provide excellent in-home care to a memory care patient, assisted living and memory care communities offer specially designed programming to support resident’s needs. At Ashley Gardens, a certified Life Enrichment Director leads to engaging daily activities, weekly on-site social events, and fun cultural excursions as part of a researched-backed health and wellness program. Residents can enjoy programs such as music therapy, aromatherapy, validation techniques, health and wellness activities, and life skills stations.
Even the dining program is designed for the particular needs of memory care residents. Ashley Garden's daily menu incorporates foods from the Rush University Medical Center MIND diet, which fosters brain health. Entrees are served on colored plates to stimulate appetite, and a server greets each resident individually with multiple daily menu choices. The MIND diet, in conjunction with the community’s many Memory Care programs, is intended to help hold off memory issues for as long as possible.
At home, it may be difficult for seniors to receive a level of access to professionals similar to what they could experience at an assisted living or memory care community. At Ashley Gardens, the staff includes an Executive Director, a licensed Director of Nursing, a licensed Memory Care Director, and a certified Life Enrichment Director. Professional staff is available 24/7 to assist residents.
Due to physical and mental limitations, seniors receiving at-home care may have limited contact with others, especially as it becomes difficult for them to participate in their favorite hobbies and social activities. However, senior living communities are designed to provide daily activities, mental stimulation, and social contact for all residents. Residents can enjoy the company of their neighbors in the community, participate in a variety of activities and events, and invite friends and family to visit in the community’s common spaces.
To learn more about the differences between home health care and memory care communities or to schedule a tour of Ashley Gardens today, contact our friendly team.