Assisted living brings up a lot to consider for any senior. If you’re contemplating a transition into assisted living, you may be curious about the kinds of support that will be available to you. For seniors that are looking for help with memory issues, it’s a good idea to explore assisted living with memory care.
The Piper Assisted Living And Memory Support In Kansas City Has Added Memory Care Lite As An Option For Dementia Care.
A community in Kansas City has created a new level of care, called Memory Care Lite, to provide the optimum environment and support so residents with early stages of dementia can live their most productive and fulfilling lives.
The unique Household design at the Piper creates the perfect opportunity to add another option. With only 20 people living in a household, there is the opportunity to keep those with the earliest diagnosis and the highest function together.
A Little Background…
Many Senior healthcare professionals know that the proper level of care for an individual should be based on each of their unique needs and strengths.
Historically, there was little difference in what types of care were available. Not that long ago, if an elder needed care of any sort, the only choice was a nursing home. You would find very frail elders sharing space with seniors who were still relatively healthy, but could not live alone because of declining memory.
Before Memory Support was a concept of care, healthy residents who had memory deficit were cared for in the same facility as those who were frail but were completely cognizant. The memory care residents needed more activity and stimulation for their quality of life, while the truly fragile residents needed assistance with hygiene, eating, and various nursing needs.
In those early days, there was no specialized training for caring for those with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. It did not create a healthy, supportive environment for either type of resident because their needs were so different.
The early efforts to care for patients with severe brain failure was heavy sedation and restraints. New solutions were desperately needed.
Memory Care Began In Earnest In The Early 1980s.
Stanford Health Center for Memory Disorders says, “Research in the last 30 years has led to a greatly improved understanding of what dementia is, who gets it, and how it develops and affects the brain. This work is beginning to pay
off with better diagnostic techniques, improved treatments, and even potential ways of preventing these diseases.
The old hospital model was replaced with Memory Care facilities that were designed to look and feel more home-like.
Staff received specialized training in dementia that was essential for best care practices. With a group of seniors who have dementia, activities could be created to keep them active and engaged. In turn, certain behaviors improved, and residents were happier.
Obviously, those needs can change as the disease progresses. There are many residents with an early dementia diagnosis who are high functioning except for their disorientation and tendency to wander. They can be a danger to themselves when trying to do everyday activities such as preparing food, taking medications, etc. It may become impossible for them to live alone or for a spouse to provide a safe environment 24/7.
In later stages of the disease process, Alzheimer’s and dementia residents may need a great deal of nursing care support. They can become physically impaired, along with their diminished mental capabilities. This can lead to a very high level of care.
The New Piper Household Concept Is Memory Care Lite.
Alzheimer’s and dementia progress in different stages, at different rates. Oftentimes, the only options are Assisted Living or Memory Care. Now, for seniors who fall somewhere in between, there’s an alternative. Memory Care Lite is an option for seniors who need more cognitive support and security than Assisted Living, but their dementia hasn’t progressed to the level of standard Memory Care. Seniors can safely maintain some independence, receive more care and be in the company of others in similar life stages.
With just 20 apartments in the Memory Care Lite Household, residents will find neighbors to connect with and participate in conversations, activities, and stimulating pursuits. This setting could possibly help slow down the progression of the disease by having other high functioning residents with whom to engage.
This model allows caregivers to be creative in customizing the highest level of stimulation and more advanced activities that may not be appropriate for those with advanced dementia.
For questions about Memory Care Lite, contact The Piper today.
As kids start to realize that their family member is beginning to show signs of memory loss and may be in need of assisted living or memory care, the immediate question becomes, “How long can my mom/dad stay in their home alone?”
What begins as innocuous short-term memory loss and repetitious questions may quickly progress to dangerous situations like wandering outside in freezing weather conditions and medication mistakes that have deadly consequences.
So often those with dementia have strong and healthy bodies, but their minds are failing them. This creates unique problems because these individuals seem able to take care of themselves as they always have. Elders that have physical limitations but are completely cognitive realize their need for assistance, while those with dementia are oftentimes more resistant to care.
Assisted Living is designed to support those individuals with physical limitations, but whose cognition is relatively good.
Memory Care is designed to support those individuals who may or may not have physical limitations but do have compromised memory function which endangers their life.
Why Memory Care In Kansas City?
Not all senior retirement communities in Kansas City have a specific area for Elders with Dementia or Alzheimers. This type of care takes a secure area to protect against wandering and staff that is trained to work with these special residents.
The Piper has two households of 20 residents each, that are specifically designed for memory Support.
Apartments are studio style so that there are fewer walls and barriers to physically navigate. Since spacial orientation is a challenge, all areas of the apartment, including the bathroom, are visible for the center of the room.
Memory Support Staff Members Are Trained To Communicate And Support Residents With Compassion And Respect.
Communication is more than just talking and listening – it’s also about sending and receiving messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.
Staff is continually learning new ways to communicate as the disease progresses. In the smaller setting at The Piper, residents see the same staff every day which provides familiarity and recognition.
Providing The Proper Amount Of Stimulation To Encourage Memory Function Is Balanced With Creating A Calm And Relaxing Environment For Those That Are Easily Irritated.
Activities like painting, singing, and storytelling allow residents to use ingrained skills and abilities that remain intact.
Delicious and healthy meals are prepared and served family-style to create an atmosphere of safety and security. Queuing for meals is also provided to make sure that everyone has nutritious lifestyle habits.
Why Would My Loved One Need Memory Care?
Families sometimes struggle with the decision to move their family member to Memory Care as opposed to regular Assisted Living. It may be a denial that there is a serious issue or a lack of understanding about what Memory Care is.
A wife of one of a resident said after her long struggle to decide to move her husband, “I had not realized that when he was at home I was always trying to help fit him into our past “normal life” and once he moved to The Piper Memory Support in Kansas City I suddenly realized that he now could fit into his own world and the struggle was over for both of us.” Her visits became relaxed and enjoyable without expectations for either of them.
Wandering is a serious issue for those with Dementia, especially if the individuals still drive. Daily we see Silver Alerts that describe someone with Dementia who is lost away from home. Nothing is more frightening.
Why Is The Term “Locked Facility” Used?
Because of the wandering issue, it is import that residents live in a safe and secure space while at the same time not feeling like a prison. The Piper has two secured households and the word ‘locked’ is not used by staff.
A doorbell at the front allows families and guests to visit easily and respect the safety concerns of each household.
A beautiful fenced outdoor space creates a feeling of freedom and allows for additional exercise.
The Decision To Determine Between Regular Assisted Living Or Memory Support Will Be Made By Family And Staff Together.
When there is a question or confusion about what type of care is needed, an assessment can answer the question.
An appointed is set up with the director of nursing to visit with the potential new resident with family present. A variety of mini-mental tests can be given and with a conversation with all involved, a decision can be made if it is time for Memory Care.
These assessments are not intimidating and can be very casual in nature to ensure the best responses from the new resident and help educate the family.
It is important that each individual has a specific care plan that fits their needs. The goal is to provide support while encouraging as much independence as possible.
If the symptoms of Dementia or Alzheimers are minimal, a move to regular Assisted Living may be the best decision for the time being, but keeping the prospect of Memory Support for a later date.
The important thing is to allow and encourage all residents to live the best life possible.
All residents deserve respect and dignity no matter their situation.
If you would like to speak to someone about the decision for your loved one to move into Assisted Living or Memory Care, contact The Piper today.