People have this idea that it’s normal to loose your marbles as you grow old, but they’re wrong. Severe memory problems are not supposed to be part of the aging process. Dementia looks different for every patient, but it’s always a difficult diagnosis. As families plan for their loved one to get the best care, they evaluate options for at-home assistance and memory care centers. Dementia villages are the latest solution to provide comfortable, customized living for seniors diagnosed with dementia.
What is dementia?
Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s a word that’s used as a general description for the decline of mental health. Patients who suffer from dementia have severe memory loss that interferes with daily life and limits everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, but there are many others. Elderly people with dementia have problems communicating and paying attention. Dementia also causes problems with reasoning and visual perceptions. These symptoms make it difficult and unsafe for dementia patients to live alone. Fortunately, there are dedicated caregivers who want to make life easier for dementia patients and their families.
Caregivers who provide in-home care make it easier for senior citizens to live at their own residence. It can be overwhelming for family members to manage on their own, so many turn to professional at-home care options or adult day centers. In-home services employ nurses and skilled aids to care for elderly dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. They offer companionship and help with chores around the house. Adult day services are a safe place for your loved one to socialize and participate in group activities. This gives their regular caregivers an opportunity to work or run errands.
Memory care centers
Some assisted living facilities feature memory care centers. Memory care programs are specifically designed to help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Staff members are trained to provide basic assistance with meals and bathing, but they also handle the specific needs of people who have conditions that affect their memory. Security measures and group activities are all created with elderly dementia patients in mind.
Dementia Village Advisors is an organization that designs living arrangements customized for dementia patients. Their goal is to create a comfortable place for residents to enjoy life and access around-the-clock healthcare. The original location is located in Weesp, a small town in the Netherlands, but a second location is being constructed in Rome.
The village in the Netherlands is called Hogeweyk and was designed to keep elderly dementia patients active and involved in the community. Residents are responsible for their own washing, cooking and household maintenance, but support staff are readily available for assistance. This encourages the seniors to be independent and engage in daily tasks.
Hogeweyk village is a gated community with its own streets, gardens and walkways for residents to wander safely. There is a supermarket, restaurant and movie theater. Everything functions like a regular town, with one exception. Money management is difficult for dementia patients, so payment for these items is included with the individual residence fees. The patients never have to exchange money.
In order to maintain the normal look and feel of everyday life, doctors, nurses and professional caregivers are dressed in regular street clothes. The staff members act as neighbors or grocery store cashiers, but actively assist the seniors with everyday chores. Residents share kitchen and living spaces and are free to mingle with others. Everyone has an individual bedroom to maintain privacy.
Dementia affects every patient differently, and today’s care options reflect that. Family members and senior citizens can evaluate the best care options for their specific needs. Growing old has challenges, but dedicated men and women are offering a fresh perspective and providing exceptional care for seniors with memory problems.