From the outside, it looks like an ordinary ranch home in an ordinary neighborhood. But inside this house, a revolution in senior care is expanding the potential and lifting the spirits of people living with dementia. This particular house is a memory care assisted living facility where residents who suffer from memory loss can feel safe and right at home.
Skilled Nursing Facilities
Residential facilities are commonplace in today’s eldercare landscape, especially for patients with dementia who require special attention day in and day out. Often, this means seniors live in condominium-style communities with communal areas, dining rooms, and treatment facilities shared by dozens or even hundreds of residents.
However, a new model for memory care limits these residences to only a handful of patients. These seniors live together in a single-family home along with assisted-living caregivers, certified dementia care practitioners, and other support staff. These caregivers provide residents with basic needs, support, and a sense of purpose. This home-like facility allows for one-on-one attention in a consistent, manageable, and comfortable environment.
Assisted Living on a Smaller Scale
Instead of crowds of people in large communal areas surrounded by confusing labyrinthine hallways, memory-care homes allow each patient to experience a smaller-scale set of circumstances. Not only does this limited environment maximize comfort while keeping confusion to a minimum, but it also more closely replicates the lifestyle the patients experienced for most of their lives.
Similar to traditional large-scale assisted-living facilities, memory-care homes provide residents with furnished suites emphasizing safety. Support staff assists with personal care, feeding, housekeeping, medical needs, and even transportation to doctors’ appointments.
But in a memory-care home, when a resident steps out of their suite, they’re greeted by an easy-to-navigate living space—a family-size living room, even a porch with access to a fenced-in yard and garden. They can find everything they need within a short distance.
A Proven Treatment Approach
And of course, this type of dementia care still utilizes proven techniques for nurturing memories and enriching lives. Rooms are clearly marked and the whole home is maintained so that residents are greeted each morning by a familiar environment. This familiar environment allows residents to remember the color of the walls as well as the layout of the furniture.
Special staff-led activities might include movie nights and games, arts and crafts, fitness, music, visits from therapy pets and even aromatherapy. But residents are also allowed to participate in familiar day-to-day tasks like folding clothes, washing dishes, and making the bed. In this pared-down environment with an ideal staff-to-resident ratio, memory-care homes strike the perfect balance between skilled supervision and patient independence. The result is a meaningful existence.
Hope for the Future
Picture a typical street in a typical neighborhood, lined with ordinary homes with manicured lawns. But inside one of these homes, four senior residents gather in the living room for karaoke night. The caregiver sets up the microphone, and a 78-year-old woman sings Sinatra, “My Way.” At the end of the evening, she takes the short walk to her room, assisted through her bedtime routine—brushing her teeth and washing her face. Tomorrow will bring more activities and fun for the residents at the Memory-Care Home.