Assisted Living or Memory Care - Which One is Right For Your Loved One?

When an elderly loved one needs to find a senior care community—it can be an overwhelming experience for the entire family. There are so many different options available and types of senior care communities that choosing the best option can seem nearly impossible. One of the biggest questions that families have regarding senior care is whether or not their loved one should be in a traditional assisted living and long-term care community or if they need to go to memory care.


With more seniors than ever dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, memory care has become a popular solution for many elderly adults. While there are assisted living communities that also have memory care units in them, there is a difference between the two types of communities.


Memory Care Vs. Assisted Living

When you have your loved one go to a memory care community, you are taking them to a place that specifically caters to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other types of memory issues. They are going to have a more immersive experience in this type of care facility than with simply going to a special floor in an assisted living community. There are going to be more staff members who specialize in memory care available, and your loved one will have a larger community of residents to socialize and interact with.


While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are treatments for Alzheimer’s that can help slow down the progression of this disease and help ensure a better quality of life during this difficult time. Memory care units can help make sure that your loved one is getting these types of treatment and the mental stimulation they need to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.


While both types of communities will be able to look after your loved one and their needs,memory care is simply more specialized and focused on memory issues. Many seniors who are already living in assisted living communities and start to develop memory issues will move first to a memory care floor in their existing home. Over time, as their dementia progresses, they may then decide to move to a new memory care community.


Finding a Memory Care Community for Your Loved One

Families who are trying to help their loved one find a memory care community to call their own, should make sure they have a memory care checklist of things that are important during their loved one’s care experience. This includes community amenities such as security services, physical therapy programs, medication management and social activities. These are all important things that can make or break a senior’s memory care experience.


Typically, communities that are entirely dedicated to memory care are going to have more amenities focused specifically on the needs of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. This may include things like special layouts that prevent wandering.


What is most important, however, whether you choose memory care or a traditional assisted living community—is that you find a place that you and your family are comfortable with. The more comfortable you are with your senior loved one’s new home, the better off everyone will be with this experience. While making decisions about memory care can be difficult, you can rest assured knowing that your loved one is getting the care they deserve during this difficult time in their life.



To find senior care that suits your needs complete this form so we can connect you with the best care. Take a look at Nursing Home Ratings nationwide. 

Blue Plates Deliver Better Appetites for Senior’s with Memory Loss

Senior caregivers can now use an easy method to assist the seniors they are caring for to eat more. Just switch to a blue plate. Remember the Blue Plate Special? This was a term used by restaurants to showcase a discounted meal special that would change each day. Research conducted by multiple studies, as well as at nursing homes, have resulted in the discovery that seniors will eat anywhere from 20% to 35% more food when their meal is served on a blue plate.


What do you think? Which plate for this meal appeals to your appetite more? We have to say the blue plate wins for us - just don't tell our Grandma her china didn't win!

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Caregiverlist's Caregiver Training courses include this type of information with real tips and tools, keeping up with the latest research, to assist caregivers and senior care companies to deliver the highest possible quality of care. Senior Care Companies needing to train their staff can enroll caregivers in Caregiver Training University courses and know they will receive modern and up-to-date training.

This month (August, 2017) Le Creuset is offering their 12-inch blue plates at 50% off. Just a bit brighter perhaps than French blue and perfect for showcasing food effectively. You can start testing out the blue plate concept with a senior you care for by purchasing the nice plastic-ware plates from Amazon or a discount store near you ($3 to $5 for several plates).

Besides blue being a pleasing color, here are some of the facts behind why this concept seems to work for increasing calorie consumption at meal time for seniors.

  • Visual Understanding Increases (No Design Competition)
  • Seeing Food Clearly Stimulates Appetite
  • Simplicity of Colors Makes Food Served Standout Better
  • As There is No Blue Food, Makes it Easy to See Food Separate from Plate
  • Blue Serves as Relaxing and Familiar Color 
Weight loss impacts nearly half of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Any efforts a caregiver can make to assist the senior to increase consumption of healthy food will help with their overall health and happiness, even as they are losing their memory capabilities. The comfort of  consuming a delicious and nutritious meal always brings joy, even for those with memory loss. The blue plates help them to realize it is meal time.

Blue, yellow, lime and red are also colors researches have experimented with and because food groups will contrast with the plate, it helps the senior to focus on the food and eating. Perhaps think about testing out brightly colored tablecloths as another option.


Remember, too, that this follows with drinking liquids. White milk in a white cup is hard to see and so is black coffee in a dark colored mug such as navy or dark brown or black. Remember that making the food and drink visually stimulating will continue to be important throughout the aging process.


Proper nutrition is important at all ages, but especially for seniors who are challenged by medical issues.


Bring in the blue plate and see if it helps at meal time.


Caregivers may obtain online caregiver training which will include these ready-to-implement tips and more at CaregiverTrainingUniversity.com or give us a call at 312-669-8820.




Medication Reminder App Helps Senior Caregivers

Caregiverlist Weekly Senior App Review

Balance, for Caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, is a new smartphone and notebook app to assist with keeping medications on track for seniors with Alzheimer's disease.

Senior caregivers must juggle many duties each day which may add to the challenges of keeping the senior's medication schedule on track.  Following the proper requirements for taking a medication are vital to benefit from the drug's prescribed benefits and this new app helps make the caregiver's job easier.

None of us have our eyes glued to the clock at all times, and this is especially true for senior caregivers, so trying to remember to take a medication at the same time daily can be a challenge, even if a senior is set in a fairly habitual routine.

Now, thanks to this new app for iPhones and iPads, caregivers and seniors can set reminders to take their pills and keep track of their medication schedule and when they have taken their medication. Think of it as a digital pillbox.

The National Alzheimer Center launched this new smartphone app last month.

In addition to the “pillbox” tool which lets the user track when a senior has taken medication, there is also a spot to keep notes on upcoming doctors appointments and tips for caregivers along with learning materials on Alzheimer's.

The Apple Applications Store lists it under “Balance: for Alzheimer's Caregivers” and has the following description:

“Balance is an essential tool for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients as it enables you to coordinate care among multiple caregivers in real-time. Track physical, behavioral and emotional changes and share them with other caregivers and doctors immediately, coordinate care and medications, learn about the latest Alzheimer’s research and information, and more.”

Launched in March, the app carries a one-time fee of $3.99 and once activated, multiple users may subscribe to the actions of one user in the application. For example, if a senior caregiver uses the application to track notes for an upcoming doctor's appointment and family member accompanies the senior to the appointment, that family member will be able to access the pertinent information for the appointment through the application. Additional features include a chat function to link caregivers with family members and access to the National Alzheimer's Center online store.

 

App Name:  Balance by The National Azlheimer Center for Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients

Cost:  $3.99

Download the application for Apple products.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress.  You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease Author Online Chat May 16th

Senior caregivers assisting seniors with Alzheimer's disease care know the unique aspects of this disease.  Confusing person, time and place can create an added challenge.  A caregiver may arrive one day to discover the senior with Alzheimer's disease thinks the caregiver is their wife or sister or mother.  "Meet them where they are" is a common mantra used when caring for seniors with Alzheimer's.

A popular book for families and caregivers is "The 36-Hour Day", co-written by Dr. Peter Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.  As a member of the AARP Caregiving Advisory Panel, Dr. Rabins will offer an online chat to answer questions about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia and discuss ways the caregiver can also care for themselves.

Creating a custom care plan for seniors with Alzheimer's disease is important along with understanding the emotional toll the caregiving can take on the caregivers, both professional caregivers and family caregivers.

My own grandfather suffered from the disease and would read the Wall Street Journal upside down and often confuse all of his family members with other people.  These are the extra heart-breaking aspects of the disease for caregivers.

Join Dr. Rabins on Thursday, May 16th from 2pm to 3pm Eastern Time for an interactive chat session.

Online Chat with Dr. Rabins, Co-Author of "The 36-Hour Day:  A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease".

Date:  May 16, 2013

Time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Senior caregivers may also find online caregiver training and apply for a senior caregiving job near them, as more companion caregivers are always needed to assist seniors with memory loss.

 

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